Reactive oxygen species are the unwanted by-products
of aerobic metabolism. To protect cells against
their potentially lethal effects a series of pathways have
evolved that are collectively called the oxidative defence
system. In most eukaryotes, catalases and selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidases form the
front line of defence against hydroperoxide-mediated
damage. However, these activities are lacking in members
of the Trypanosomatidae family of protozoan
parasites. Instead these organisms contain several
enzyme-mediated pathways for removal of hydroperoxides
that are centred upon the unusual thiol trypanothione.
Here we discuss the biochemical properties of
one group of these enzymes, the non-selenium glutathione-dependent peroxidases, and outline the roles
that they play in protecting the parasite against hydroperoxides
associated with biological membranes.
Biological Chemistry keeps you up-to-date with the latest advances in the molecular life sciences. The journal publishes Research Articles, Short Communications, Reviews and Minireviews. Areas include: general biochemistry/pathobiochemistry, structural biology, molecular and cellular biology, genetics and epigenetics, virology, molecular medicine, plant molecular biology/biochemistry and novel experimental methodologies.