PerspectiveBiochemistry

Coping with oxidative stress

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Science  09 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6218, pp. 125-126
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa3602

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Summary

Ever since living systems began to use molecular oxygen for efficient energy generation, they have had to deal with its detrimental by-products. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are mainly formed in the mitochondria, cause oxidative damage to cellular components and have been implicated in several pathological conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, as well as in cell death and aging (1). To minimize oxidative stress, cells have developed defense machineries that can neutralize ROS. On page 178 of this issue, Leung et al. (2) report the crystal structure of nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (TH), a key enzyme in this defense machinery.