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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2004 Feb;6(1):25-40.

The mammalian testis-specific thioredoxin system.

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Center for Biotechnology, Department of Biosciences at NOVUM, Karolinska Institutet, S-14157 Huddinge, Sweden.


Redox control of cell physiology is one of the most important regulatory mechanisms in all living organisms. The thioredoxin system, composed of thioredoxin and thioredoxin reductase, has emerged as a key player in cellular redox-mediated reactions. For many years, only one thioredoxin system had been described in higher organisms, ubiquitously expressed in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells. However, during the last decade, we and others have identified and characterized novel thioredoxin systems with unique properties, such as organelle-specific localization in mitochondria or endoplasmic reticulum, tissue-specific distribution mostly in the testis, and features novel for thioredoxins, such as microtubule-binding properties. In this review, we will focus on the mammalian testis-specific thioredoxin system that comprises three thioredoxins exclusively expressed in spermatids (named Sptrx-1, Sptrx-2, and Sptrx-3) and an additional thioredoxin highly expressed in testis, but also present in lung and other ciliated tissues (Txl-2). The implications of these findings in the context of male fertility and testicular cancer, as well as evolutionary aspects, will be discussed.

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