Glutathione is an important antioxidant in plants, animals, fungi, some bacteria and archaea.
Glutathione is capable preventing damage to important cellular components caused by reactive oxygen species such as free radicals, peroxides, lipid peroxides, and heavy metals.
It is a tripeptide with gamma peptide linkage between the carboxyl group of the glutamate side chain, the amine group of cysteine, the carboxyl group of cysteine is attached by normal peptide linkage to a glycine.
Thiol groups are reducing agents, existing at a concentration around 5 mM in animal cells.
It is reduces disulfide bonds formed within cytoplasmic proteins to cysteines by serving as an electron donor.
In the process, is converted to its oxidized form.
Once oxidized, it can be reduced back by glutathione reductase, using NADPH as an electron donor.
The ratio of reduced to oxidized within cells is often used as a measure of cellular oxidative stress.
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