Peroxidases have more functions than a Swiss army knife
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- Passardi, F., Cosio, C., Penel, C. et al. Plant Cell Rep (2005) 24: 255. doi:10.1007/s00299-005-0972-6
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Plant peroxidases (class III peroxidases) are present in all land plants. They are members of a large multigenic family. Probably due to this high number of isoforms, and to a very heterogeneous regulation of their expression, plant peroxidases are involved in a broad range of physiological processes all along the plant life cycle. Due to two possible catalytic cycles, peroxidative and hydroxylic, peroxidases can generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) (•OH, HOO•), polymerise cell wall compounds, and regulate H2O2 levels. By modulating their activity and expression following internal and external stimuli, peroxidases are prevalent at every stage of plant growth, including the demands that the plant meets in stressful conditions. These multifunctional enzymes can build a rigid wall or produce ROS to make it more flexible; they can prevent biological and chemical attacks by raising physical barriers or by counterattacking with a large production of ROS; they can be involved in a more peaceful symbiosis. They are finally present from the first hours of a plant’s life until its last moments. Although some functions look paradoxical, the whole process is probably regulated by a fine-tuning that has yet to be elucidated. This review will discuss the factors that can influence this delicate balance.