Plant stem cells are the foundation of plant growth and development. The balance of quiescence and division is highly regulated, while ensuring that proliferating cells are protected from the adverse effects of environment fluctuations that may damage the genome. Redox regulation is important in both the activation of proliferation and arrest of the cell cycle upon perception of environmental stress. Within this context, reactive oxygen species serve as ‘pro-life’ signals with positive roles in the regulation of the cell cycle and survival. However, very little is known about the metabolic mechanisms and redox-sensitive proteins that influence cell cycle progression. We have identified cysteine residues on known cell cycle regulators in Arabidopsis that are potentially accessible, and could play a role in redox regulation, based on secondary structure and solvent accessibility likelihoods for each protein. We propose that redox regulation may function alongside other known posttranslational modifications to control the functions of core cell cycle regulators such as the retinoblastoma protein. Since our current understanding of how redox regulation is involved in cell cycle control is hindered by a lack of knowledge regarding both which residues are important and how modification of those residues alters protein function, we discuss how critical redox modifications can be mapped at the molecular level.Graphical abstract
Core cell cycle genes and complexes, showing potentially accessible or exposed cysteines. Coloured boxes show the number of potentially exposed cysteines: Orange, 0 exposed; Green, 1–3 exposed; Blue, 4–12 exposed.