Skip to main content

Signals from reactive oxygen species

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can arise from normal metabolic activity such as organelle-based electron transport or be intermediates in signal transduction pathways activated by plant respiratory burst oxidase homologue (Rboh). UV-B exposure induces a pathogenesis-like response in leaves that can be abrogated by ROS scavengers [1]. A local signal is propagated by hydrogen peroxide and is sensitive to the application of catalase [2]. Similarly, local ROS production initiated by elicitors or pathogens can arise from stimulation of superoxide producing Rboh activity [3, 4]. In this case as well, propagation of a ROS signal to adjoining cells is sensitive to catalase. Antisense of Rboh homologues in tomato lead to reduced ROS production [5]. The tomato plants show compromised wound-dependent responses. In addition, the antisense plants have a highly branched phenotype and fasciated-like reproductive organs. Transcriptome analysis of these plants revealed ectopic expression of homeotic MADS box genes that are normally expressed only in the reproductive organs. In addition, various applications of hormones were found to regulate Rboh levels. Thus, regulated ROS bursts and the general effect of Rboh activity on the steady state cellular redox milieu control short term physiological reactions and plant development. Divergent stress including temperature, drought and UV-B exposure yield overlapping transcriptome response profiles whose origin can be traced to the use of reactive oxygen signaling intermediates. Cellular scavenging systems and local production of NO are likely to temper these signalling properties by interacting with ROS and thus help to contribute to the specificity of particular responses.


  1. Green R, Fluhr R: UV-B induced PR-1 accumulation is mediated by active oxygen species. The Plant Cell. 1995, 7: 203-212. 10.1105/tpc.7.2.203.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Allan AC, Fluhr R: Two distinct sources of elicited reactive oxygen species in tobacco epidermal cells. The Plant Cell. 1997, 9: 1559-1572. 10.1105/tpc.9.9.1559.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Allan AC, Lapidot M, Culver JN, Fluhr R: An early TMV-induced oxidative burst in tobacco suggests an extracellular receptor for the virus coat protein. Plant Physiol. 2001, 126: 97-108. 10.1104/pp.126.1.97.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Sagi M, Fluhr R: Superoxide production by the gp91phox NADPH oxidase plant homologue: modulation of activity by calcium and TMV. Plant Physiol. 2001, 126: 1281-1290. 10.1104/pp.126.3.1281.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Sagi M, Davydov O, Orazova S, Yesbergenova Z, Ophir R, Stratman JW, Fluhr R: Rboh impinges on wound responsiveness and development in tomato. The Plant Cell. 2004, 16: 616-628. 10.1105/tpc.019398.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robert Fluhr.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Fluhr, R., Sagi, M., Davydov, O. et al. Signals from reactive oxygen species. BMC Plant Biol 5 (Suppl 1), S15 (2005).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: