Plant pathogenic fungi in eight genera produce light-activated perylenequinone toxins that are toxic to plants via the generation of activated oxygen species, particularly singlet oxygen. Studies on the cercosporin toxin produced by species have documented an important role for this toxin in pathogenesis of host plants. Cercosporin-generated active oxygen species destroy the membranes of host plants, providing nutrients to support the growth of these intercellular pathogens. Resistance of species to the toxic effects of their own toxin has allowed these organisms to be used as a model for understanding the cellular basis of resistance to singlet oxygen and to general oxidative stress. In particular, the recent discovery that pyridoxine (vitamin B6) quenches singlet oxygen has led to the understanding of a novel role for this vitamin in cells as well as the discovery of a novel pathway of biosynthesis.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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