Structural Basis for Target Protein Recognition by the Protein Disulfide Reductase Thioredoxin

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Thioredoxin is ubiquitous and regulates various target proteins through disulfide bond reduction. We report the structure of thioredoxin (HvTrxh2 from barley) in a reaction intermediate complex with a protein substrate, barley α-amylase/subtilisin inhibitor (BASI). The crystal structure of this mixed disulfide shows a conserved hydrophobic motif in thioredoxin interacting with a sequence of residues from BASI through van der Waals contacts and backbone-backbone hydrogen bonds. The observed structural complementarity suggests that the recognition of features around protein disulfides plays a major role in the specificity and protein disulfide reductase activity of thioredoxin. This novel insight into the function of thioredoxin constitutes a basis for comprehensive understanding of its biological role. Moreover, comparison with structurally related proteins shows that thioredoxin shares a mechanism with glutaredoxin and glutathione transferase for correctly positioning substrate cysteine residues at the catalytic groups but possesses a unique structural element that allows recognition of protein disulfides.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1701-1710
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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