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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 546915, 20 pages
Review Article

The Redox System in C. elegans, a Phylogenetic Approach

School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia

Received 31 March 2012; Revised 28 May 2012; Accepted 31 May 2012

Academic Editor: Cinta Porte

Copyright © 2012 Andrew D. Johnston and Paul R. Ebert. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oxidative stress is a toxic state caused by an imbalance between the production and elimination of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS cause oxidative damage to cellular components such as proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. While the role of ROS in cellular damage is frequently all that is noted, ROS are also important in redox signalling. The “Redox Hypothesis" has been proposed to emphasize a dual role of ROS. This hypothesis suggests that the primary effect of changes to the redox state is modified cellular signalling rather than simply oxidative damage. In extreme cases, alteration of redox signalling can contribute to the toxicity of ROS, as well as to ageing and age-related diseases. The nematode species Caenorhabditis elegans provides an excellent model for the study of oxidative stress and redox signalling in animals. We use protein sequences from central redox systems in Homo sapiens, Drosophila melanogaster, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae to query Genbank for homologous proteins in C. elegans. We then use maximum likelihood phylogenetic analysis to compare protein families between C. elegans and the other organisms to facilitate future research into the genetics of redox biology.