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Flavonoids: new roles for old molecules

Author(s): Buer CS, Imin N, Djordjevic MA

Abstract

Flavonoids are ubiquitous in the plant kingdom and have many diverse functions including defense, UV protection, auxin transport inhibition, allelopathy, and flower coloring. Interestingly, these compounds also have considerable biological activity in plant, animal and bacterial systems - such broad activity is accomplished by few compounds. Yet, for all the research over the last three decades, many of the cellular targets of these secondary metabolites are unknown. The many mutants available in model plant species such as Arabidopsis thaliana and Medicago truncatula are enabling the intricacies of the physiology of these compounds to be deduced. In the present review, we cover recent advances in flavonoid research, discuss deficiencies in our understanding of the physiological processes, and suggest approaches to identify the cellular targets of flavonoids.

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