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Received June 29, 2015
C1 compounds participate in various metabolic processes and regulations including DNA methylation. Formaldehyde (FA), a product of methyl group oxidation, is highly cytotoxic. In the cell, there are two pathways of its utilization: assimilation and oxidation. Formaldehyde displays cytotoxicity, and therefore its oxidation is considered as detoxification. The sensitivity to the threshold concentration of FA we regard as an indication of its major role in biosystem functioning. A model of a three-component conjugated redox system is proposed in which the methyl group oxidation pathway is an archaic and conservative donor of protons and electrons, the reduction of O2 serves as an acceptor, and the arginine amino group is used for production of both urea and nitric oxide (the donor and acceptor, respectively). The fourth component of the redox system is glutathione, which maintains redox balance. The three-level system of proton donors includes the oxidation of a methyl group (first level), the oxidation of acetate in mitochondria (second level), and glucose catabolism in the pentose phosphate pathway (third level). The whole redox system is united by the sulfhydryl groups of cysteines, glutathione, thioredoxin, and α-lipoic acid. The central regulatory role in this redox system belongs to glutathione-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase, which controls FA binding with tetrahydrofolic acid, arginine methylation, and denitrosation of sulfhydryl groups. The conjugated redox system was formed during evolution as a union of separate redox cycles of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen.
KEY WORDS: redox system, formaldehyde, arginine, hydrogen peroxide, sulfhydryl groups, regulation