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Glutathione Is a Key Player in Metal-Induced Oxidative Stress Defenses

Author(s): Marijke Jozefczak | Tony Remans | Jaco Vangronsveld | Ann Cuypers

Journal: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
ISSN 1422-0067

Volume: 13;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 3145;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: metals | cellular redox state | glutathione | chelation

Since the industrial revolution, the production, and consequently the emission of metals, has increased exponentially, overwhelming the natural cycles of metals in many ecosystems. Metals display a diverse array of physico-chemical properties such as essential versus non-essential and redox-active versus non-redox-active. In general, all metals can lead to toxicity and oxidative stress when taken up in excessive amounts, imposing a serious threat to the environment and human health. In order to cope with different kinds of metals, plants possess defense strategies in which glutathione (GSH; γ-glu-cys-gly) plays a central role as chelating agent, antioxidant and signaling component. Therefore, this review highlights the role of GSH in: (1) metal homeostasis; (2) antioxidative defense; and (3) signal transduction under metal stress. The diverse functions of GSH originate from the sulfhydryl group in cysteine, enabling GSH to chelate metals and participate in redox cycling.
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