Acting as a signal, hydrogen peroxide circumvents antioxidant defense by overoxidizing peroxiredoxins (Prxs), the enzymes that metabolize peroxides. We show that sestrins, a family of proteins whose expression is modulated by p53, are required for regeneration of Prxs containing Cys-SO(2)H, thus reestablishing the antioxidant firewall. Sestrins contain a predicted redox-active domain homologous to AhpD, the enzyme catalyzing the reduction of a bacterial Prx, AhpC. Purified Hi95 (sestrin 2) protein supports adenosine triphosphate-dependent reduction of overoxidized PrxI in vitro, indicating that unlike AhpD, which is a disulfide reductase, sestrins are cysteine sulfinyl reductases. As modulators of peroxide signaling and antioxidant defense, sestrins constitute potential therapeutic targets.
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