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2010 | 57 | 2 | 143-151
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The key role of the redox status in regulation of metabolism in photosynthesizing organisms

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The redox status of the cell is described by the ratio of reduced to non-reduced compounds. Redox reactions which determine the redox state are an essential feature of all living beings on Earth. However, the first life forms evolved under strongly anoxic conditions of the young Earth, and the redox status probably was based on iron and sulphur compounds. Nowadays, redox reactions in cells have developed in strict connection to molecular oxygen and its derivatives i.e. reactive oxygen species (ROS). Oxygen has started to accumulate on the Earth due to oxygenic photosynthesis. All aspects of aerobic life involve ROS, reactive nitrogen species (RNS), antioxidants and redox regulation. Many different redox-active compounds are involved in the complex of redox processes, including pyridine nucleotides, thioredoxins, glutaredoxins and other thiol/disulphide-containing proteins. Redox regulation is integrated with the redox-reactions in photosynthesis and respiration to achieve an overall energy balance and to maintain a reduced state necessary for the biosynthetic pathways that are reductive in nature. It underlies the physiological and developmental flexibility in plant response to environmental signals.
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