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Balestrazzi A.,University of Pavia | Macovei A.,University of Pavia | Tava A.,Cra Centro Of Ricerca Per Le Produzioni Foraggere E Lattiero Casearie Cra Flc | Avato P.,University of Bari | And 2 more authors.
Plant Signaling and Behavior | Year: 2011

A wide range of pharmacological properties are ascribed to natural saponins, in addition to their biological activities against herbivores, plant soilborne pathogens and pests. As for animal cells, the cytotoxicity and the chemopreventive role of saponins are mediated by a complex network of signal transduction pathways which include reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO). The involvement of other relevant components of the saponin-related signaling routes, such as the Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)α, the interleukin (IL)-6 and the Nuclear Transcription FactorκB (NFκB), has been highlighted in animal cells. By contrast, information concerning the response of plant cells to saponins and the related signal transduction pathways is almost missing. To date, there are only a few common features which link plant and animal cells in their response to saponins, such as the early burst in ROS and NO production and the induction of metallothioneins (MTs), small cysteine-rich, metal-binding proteins. This aspect is discussed in the present paper in view of the recent hypothesis that MTs and NO are part of a novel signal transduction pathway participating in the cell response to oxidative stress. © 2011 Landes Bioscience.

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