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Eur J Biochem. 1997 Oct 1;249(1):52-60.

SP-22 is a thioredoxin-dependent peroxide reductase in mitochondria.

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Radioisotope Laboratory, Faculty of Agriculture, Yamaguchi University, Japan.


SP-22 is a mitochondrial antioxidant protein in bovine adrenal cortex. The protein is homologous to thioredoxin peroxidase and other antioxidant proteins. It protects radical-sensitive enzymes from oxidative damage by a radical-generating system (Fe2+/dithiothreitol) in the presence of a small amount of serum. In this study we purified a second mitochondrial protein with Mr 11,777, which cooperates with SP-22 to protect glutamine synthetase and other proteins from Fe2+/dithiothreitol-mediated damage. Without SP-22, the protein had no protecting activity. We determined amino acid and nucleotide sequences of the protein and its cDNA, respectively, and found that it was a protein of the thioredoxin family. The protein, designated as mt-Trx (mitochondrial thioredoxin), had a presequence composed of 59 amino acids that seemed to be a mitochondrial targeting signal. Mitochondrial extract prepared from adrenal cortex contained NADPH-dependent 5,5'dithiobis(2-nitrobenzoic acid) (Nbs2) reductase activity. The enzyme was thought to have thioredoxin reductase activity, since the Nbs2-reducing activity was stimulated by mt-Trx. We partially purified the Nbs2 reductase from bovine adrenocortical mitochondria. In the presence of the partially purified reductase, mt-Trx, and NADPH, SP-22 showed the activity to protect oxyhemoglobin against ascorbate-induced damage. Furthermore, with the three protein components (Nbs2 reductase, mt-Trx, and SP-22) NADPH was oxidized in the presence of hydrogen peroxide or tert-butyl hydroperoxide. The oxidation of NADPH was concomitant with the disappearance of an equimolar amount of hydrogen peroxide. Without any one of the protein components no hemoglobin-protecting and peroxide-dependent NADPH-oxidizing activities were observed. From these results we concluded that SP-22 is thioredoxin-dependent peroxide reductase or so-called thioredoxin peroxidase in mitochondria from the adrenal cortex.

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