Peroxiredoxins (Prxs) and glutathione peroxidases (Gpxs) provide the majority of peroxides reducing activity in the cytoplasm. Both are peroxidases but differences in the chemical mechanism of reduction of oxidative agents, as well as in the reactivity of the catalytically active residues, confer peculiar features on them. Ultimately, Gpx should be regarded as an efficient peroxides scavenger having a high-reactive selenocysteine (Sec) residue. Prx, by having a low pKa cysteine, is less efficient than Gpx in reduction of peroxides under physiological conditions, but the chemistry of the sulfur together with the peculiar structural arrangement of the active site, in typical Prxs, make it suitable to sense a redox environment and to switch-in-function so as to exert holdase activity under redox-stress conditions. The complex macromolecular assembly would have evolved the chaperone holdase function and the moonlighting behaviour typical of many Prxs.

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