The Journal of biological chemistry

Novel thioredoxin-related transmembrane protein TMX4 has reductase activity.

PMID 20056998


In the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), a number of thioredoxin (Trx) superfamily proteins are present to enable correct disulfide bond formation of secretory and membrane proteins via Trx-like domains. Here, we identified a novel transmembrane Trx-like protein 4 (TMX4), in the ER of mammalian cells. TMX4, a type I transmembrane protein, was localized to the ER and possessed a Trx-like domain that faced the ER lumen. A maleimide alkylation assay showed that a catalytic CXXC motif in the TMX4 Trx-like domain underwent changes in its redox state depending on cellular redox conditions, and, in the normal state, most of the endogenous TMX4 existed in the oxidized form. Using a purified recombinant protein containing the Trx-like domain of TMX4 (TMX4-Trx), we confirmed that this domain had reductase activity in vitro. The redox potential of this domain (-171.5 mV; 30 degrees C at pH 7.0) indicated that TMX4 could work as a reductase in the environment of the ER. TMX4 had no effect on the acceleration of ER-associated degradation. Because TMX4 interacted with calnexin and ERp57 by co-immunoprecipitation assay, the role of TMX4 may be to enable protein folding in cooperation with these proteins consisting of folding complex in the ER.