Rapid generation of superoxide and accumulation of HO is a characteristic early feature of the hypersensitive response following perception of pathogen avirulence signals. Emerging data indicate that the oxidative burst reflects activation of a membrane-bound NADPH oxidase closely resembling that operating in activated neutrophils. The oxidants are not only direct protective agents, but HO also functions as a substrate for oxidative cross-linking in the cell wall, as a threshold trigger for hypersensitive cell death, and as a diffusible signal for induction of cellular protectant genes in surrounding cells. Activation of the oxidative burst is a central component of a highly amplified and integrated signal system, also involving salicylic acid and perturbations of cytosolic Ca2+, which underlies the expression of disease-resistance mechanisms.

Keyword(s): cell deathH2O2superoxide

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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