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J Biol Chem. 1992 Dec 5;267(34):24161-4.

Secretion of thioredoxin by normal and neoplastic cells through a leaderless secretory pathway.

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Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro, Genoa, Italy.


Thioredoxin, despite its function as an intracellular disulfide reducing enzyme and its lack of a signal sequence, has been found to play some roles extracellularly. Here we show that thioredoxin is actively secreted by a variety of normal and transformed cells, including fibroblasts, airway epithelial cells, and activated B and T lymphocytes. Neither brefeldin A nor dinitrophenol, two drugs that block transport through the exocytic pathway, inhibit secretion of thioredoxin, indicating that the latter does not follow the classical ER-Golgi route. The secretory mechanism for thioredoxin shares several features with the alternative pathway described for interleukin-1 beta, such as the potentiating effect on secretion of several unrelated drugs and the sensitivity to methylamine. However, unlike interleukin-1 beta, thioredoxin is not detected in membrane-bound compartments of secreting cells. In addition, when COS7 are transfected with plasmids encoding pro-interleukin-1 beta or thioredoxin, only the latter is detectable extracellularly.

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