Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are key players in the regulation of plant development, stress responses, and programmed cell death. Previous studies indicated that depending on the type of ROS (hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, or singlet oxygen) or its subcellular production site (plastidic, cytosolic, peroxisomal, or apoplastic), a different physiological, biochemical, and molecular response is provoked. We used transcriptome data generated from ROS-related microarray experiments to assess the specificity of ROS-driven transcript expression. Data sets obtained by exogenous application of oxidative stress-causing agents (methyl viologen, Alternaria alternata toxin, 3-aminotriazole, and ozone) and from a mutant ( fluorescent ) and transgenic plants, in which the activity of an individual antioxidant enzyme was perturbed (catalase, cytosolic ascorbate peroxidase, and copper/zinc superoxide dismutase), were compared. In total, the abundance of nearly 26,000 transcripts of Arabidopsis ( Arabidopsis thaliana ) was monitored in response to different ROS. Overall, 8,056, 5,312, and 3,925 transcripts showed at least a 3-, 4-, or 5-fold change in expression, respectively. In addition to marker transcripts that were specifically regulated by hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, or singlet oxygen, several transcripts were identified as general oxidative stress response markers because their steady-state levels were at least 5-fold elevated in most experiments. We also assessed the expression characteristics of all annotated transcription factors and inferred new candidate regulatory transcripts that could be responsible for orchestrating the specific transcriptomic signatures triggered by different ROS. Our analysis provides a framework that will assist future efforts to address the impact of ROS signals within environmental stress conditions and elucidate the molecular mechanisms of the oxidative stress response in plants.
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