Class III peroxidases and ascorbate metabolism in plants

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Class III peroxidases (PODs) have many functions in plant metabolism mainly dependent on their various physiological reducing substrates. Their involvement in plant differentiation and in the response against environmental stress is well known. Several evidences underline that ascorbate (ASC) levels affect POD reactions and, as a consequence, interfere with the metabolic pathways controlled by these isoenzymes. Ascorbate peroxidases (APXs), enzymes belonging to a different class of peroxidases (class I), are often present in the same cellular compartments in which PODs are also active. Since both APXs and PODs specifically utilise hydrogen peroxide as oxidising substrate they can compete, when co-present, for the same substrate. In this review, attention focuses on some of the physiological processes in which both ASC metabolism and PODs are involved. In particular, the scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during photosynthesis, cell elongation and wall stiffening as well as programmed cell death have been considered thoroughly. The relations between PODs and ASC metabolism have been discussed also in the attempt to outline their relevance for the correct plant development as well as for the perception/response of external stimuli allowing plants to cope with unfavourable conditions.

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