Reactive oxygen species (ROS) were originally thought to only be released by phagocytic cells during their role in host defence. It is now clear that ROS have a cell signalling role in many biological systems, both in animals and in plants. ROS induce programmed cell death or necrosis, induce or suppress the expression of many genes, and activate cell signalling cascades, such as those involving mitogen-activated protein kinases.
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© 2001 Biochemical Society