Christine H. Foyer Discusses Redox Homeostasis and Antioxidant Signaling

Emerging Research FRonts Commentary, June 2011

Christine H. Foyer

Article: Redox homeostasis and antioxidant signaling: A metabolic interface between stress perception and physiological responses


Authors: Foyer, CH;Noctor, G
Journal: PLANT CELL, 17 (7): 1866-1875, JUL 2005
Addresses: Rothamsted Res, Crop Performance & Improvement Div, Harpenden AL5 2JQ, Herts, England.
Rothamsted Res, Crop Performance & Improvement Div, Harpenden AL5 2JQ, Herts, England.
Univ Paris 11, Inst Biotechnol Plantes, CNRS, UMR 8618, F-91405 Orsay, France.

Christine H. Foyer talks with ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about this month's Emerging Research Front paper in the field of Plant & Animal Science.


SW: Why do you think your paper is highly cited?

The topic of this article has a wide general appeal and interest. Redox metabolism is central to biology and the mechanisms that facilitate cellular redox homeostasis and signaling have implications for a wide range of processes. This article presents current concepts and also provides the personal perspectives and insights of the authors to give a comprehensive overview of the topic.

SW: Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or synthesis of knowledge?

This article presents a synthesis of current knowledge based on recent advances and discoveries.

SW: Would you summarize the significance of your paper in layman's terms?

This article describes the ability of the cell to integrate information from metabolism and the environment by sensing changes in reductants and oxidants (redox) in a signaling hub that controls gene expression and cell fate. The processes that generate balance and ultimately buffer the production of oxidants and reductants are described in relation to the integrated control of plant responses to the environment, in terms of growth, development, and defense.

SW: How did you become involved in this research, and how would you describe the particular challenges, setbacks, and successes that you've encountered along the way?

"This article describes the ability of the cell to integrate information from metabolism and the environment by sensing changes in reductants and oxidants (redox) in a signaling hub that controls gene expression and cell fate."

Both authors undertook research towards their Ph.D. projects in this area. While also moving to other research topics during their careers, the authors have had an enduring passion and enthusiasm for the research area of this article because it is exciting and challenging in concept and design, and rich in detail and implications.

Challenge-wise, there was a lack of funding originally because referees failed to see the general importance of the topic in plant biology. Also, the long-standing concepts of oxidative stress and oxidative damage were so deeply embedded that it that took a considerable time for a widespread appreciation of the emerging ideas of integrated oxidative and reductive signaling to become widely accepted. Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that many research evaluation committees still consider a full understanding of this topic to be of somewhat secondary importance.

In terms of setbacks, a lack of appropriate technologies for determining cellular redox pools has delayed progress.

Despite it all, we have successfully pioneered developments in our understanding of the respective roles of antioxidants, such as ascorbate and glutathione, in the cellular redox hub.

SW: Where do you see your research leading in the future?

Our research is leading to a better understanding of how plants use redox components to control growth and defense responses in relation to the environment. This knowledge will lead to new strategies for the improvement of plant growth and vigor under conditions of environmental stress.

SW: Do you foresee any social or political implications for your research?

The worldwide demand for primary plant products to be used for food, feed, and fuel is increasing dramatically.In addition, there is global recognition that hunger and the cycle of poverty are two of the most significant developing challenges that the world faces today. Future agriculture therefore urgently needs new crop plant varieties with enhanced and sustainable productivity. This research area provides essential novel information and molecular tools that will contribute to the production of a new generation of crop plants with the desired characteristics.End

Professor Christine Helen Foyer
Professor of Plant Crop Science
Centre for Plant Sciences
Research Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology
Faculty of Biological Sciences
University of Leeds
Leeds, United Kingdom

KEYWORDS: REDOX HOMEOSTASIS, ANTIOXIDANT SIGNALING, METABOLIC INTERFACE, STRESS PERCEPTION, PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES, PROGRAMMED CELL DEATH, OXIDATIVE STRESS, ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA, GENE EXPRESSION, GLUTATHIONE BIOSYNTHESIS, MSEOPHYLL CELLS, TOBACCO PLANTS, ASCORBATE, THIOREDOXIN, PROTEIN.

 
 

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