Direct interaction of the novel Nox proteins with p22phox is required for the formation of a functionally active NADPH oxidase

J Biol Chem. 2004 Oct 29;279(44):45935-41. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M406486200. Epub 2004 Aug 18.


Nox1 and Nox4, homologues of the leukocyte NADPH oxidase subunit Nox2 (gp91phox) mediate superoxide anion formation in various cell types. However, their interactions with other components of the NADPH oxidase are poorly defined. We determined whether a direct interaction of Nox1 and Nox4 with the p22phox subunit of the NADPH oxidase occurs. Using confocal microscopy, co-localization of p22phox with Nox1, Nox2, and Nox4 was observed in transiently transfected vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and HEK293 cells. Plasmids coding for fluorescent fusion proteins of p22phox and the Nox proteins with cyan- and yellow-fluorescent protein (cfp and yfp, respectively) were constructed and expressed in VSMC and HEK293 cells. The cfp-tagged p22phox expression level increased upon cotransfection with Nox1 or Nox4. Protein-protein interaction between the fluorescent fusion proteins of p22phox and the Nox partners was observed using the fluorescence resonance energy transfer technique. Immunoprecipitation of native Nox1 from human VSMC revealed co-precipitation of p22phox. Immunoprecipitation from transfected HEK293 cells revealed co-precipitation of native p22phox with yfp-tagged Nox1, Nox2, and Nox4. Following mutation of a histidine (corresponding to the position 115 in human Nox2) to leucine, this interaction was abolished. Transfection of rat p22phox (but not Noxo1 and Noxa1) increased the radical generation in cells expressing Nox4. We provide evidence that p22phox directly interacts with Nox1 and Nox4, to form an superoxide-generating NADPH oxidase and demonstrate that mutation of the potential heme binding site in the Nox proteins disrupts the complex formation of Nox1 and Nox4 with p22phox.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Heme / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / chemistry*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / enzymology
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase / chemistry*
  • NADPH Oxidase 1
  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • NADPH Oxidases / chemistry*
  • NADPH Oxidases / physiology
  • Phosphoproteins / chemistry*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry


  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Heme
  • NADPH Oxidase 1
  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • NOX1 protein, human
  • NOX4 protein, human
  • CYBA protein, human
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase