Production, detection, and signaling of singlet oxygen in photosynthetic organisms

Beat B. Fischer, Éva Hideg, Anja Krieger-Liszkay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

94 Citations (Scopus)


Significance: In photosynthetic organisms, excited chlorophylls (Chl) can stimulate the formation of singlet oxygen (1O2), a highly toxic molecule that acts in addition to its damaging nature as an important signaling molecule. Thus, due to this dual role of 1O2, its production and detoxification have to be strictly controlled. Recent Advances: Regulation of pigment synthesis is essential to control 1O2 production, and several components of the Chl synthesis and pigment insertion machineries to assemble and disassemble protein/pigment complexes have recently been identified. Once produced, 1O2 activates a signaling cascade from the chloroplast to the nucleus that can involve multiple mechanisms and stimulate a specific gene expression response. Further, 1O2 signaling was shown to interact with signal cascades of other reactive oxygen species, oxidized carotenoids, and lipid hydroperoxide-derived reactive electrophile species. Critical Issues: Despite recent progresses, hardly anything is known about how and where the 1O2 signal is sensed and transmitted to the cytoplasm. One reason for that is the limitation of available detection methods challenging the reliable quantification and localization of 1O 2 in plant cells. In addition, the process of Chl insertion into the reaction centers and antenna complexes is still unclear. Future Directions: Unraveling the mechanisms controlling 1O2 production and signaling would help clarifying the specific role of 1O2 in cellular stress responses. It would further enable to investigate the interaction and sensitivity to other abiotic and biotic stress signals and thus allow to better understand why some stressors activate an acclimation, while others provoke a programmed cell death response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2145-2162
Number of pages18
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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