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J Biol Chem. 1999 Sep 24;274(39):27891-7.

Distinct roles of thioredoxin in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus. A two-step mechanism of redox regulation of transcription factor NF-kappaB.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, Kyoto University Hospital, Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, 53 Shogoin-Kawaharacho, Sakyo-Ku, Kyoto, 606-01, Japan.


Oxidative stresses such as UV irradiation to mammalian cells triggers a variety of oxistress responses including activation of transcription factors. Recently, activation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) has been shown to be under oxidoreduction (redox) regulation controlled by thioredoxin (TRX), which is one of major endogenous redox-regulating molecules with thiol reducing activity. In order to elucidate where in the cellular compartment TRX participates in NF-kappaB regulation, we investigated the intracellular localization of TRX. UVB irradiation induced translocation of TRX from the cytoplasm into the nucleus. In our in vitro diamide-induced cross-linking study, we showed that TRX can associate directly with NF-kappaB p50. Overexpression of wild-type TRX suppressed induction of luciferase activity under NF-kappaB-binding sites in response to UV irradiation compared with the mock transfectant. In contrast, overexpression of nuclear-targeted TRX enhanced the luciferase activity. Thus, TRX seems to play dual and opposing roles in the regulation of NF-kappaB. In the cytoplasm, it interferes with the signals to IkappaB kinases and blocks the degradation of IkappaB. In the nucleus, however, TRX enhances NF-kappaB transcriptional activities by enhancing its ability to bind DNA. This two-step TRX-dependent regulation of the NF-kappaB complex may be a novel activation mechanism of redox-sensitive transcription factors.

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