The human thioredoxin (TRX)-interacting protein is found in multiple subcellular compartments and plays a major role in redox homeostasis, particularly in the context of metabolism (e.g., lipidemia and glycemia) and apoptosis. A molecular approach to the protein's modus operandi is still needed because some aspects of the TRX-interacting protein-mediated regulation of TRX are not clearly understood. To this end, His-tagged TRX-interacting proteins were over-expressed in Escherichia coli. Because the protein is expressed mainly in inclusion bodies, it was denatured in high concentrations of guanidium hydrochloride, centrifuged, and purified by Ni-NTA affinity chromatography. His-TRX-interacting protein was then refolded by dialysis and its restructuring monitored by circular dichroism spectrometry. This preparation resulted in the formation of a covalent complex with recombinant human TRX, demonstrating that association occurs without the intervention of other partner proteins. Multiple cysteine-to-serine mutants of TRX-interacting protein were produced and purified. These mutations were efficient in limiting the formation of disulfide-linked homo-oligomers in an oxidizing environment. The mutants were also used to gain functional insight into the formation of the TRX-interacting protein-TRX complexes. These complexes were able to form in the absence of internal disulfide bridges. A mutant with all but one cysteine changed to serine (Cys ²⁴⁷) also showed an enhanced capacity to form complexes with TRX demonstrating, in a pure molecular system, that this particular cysteine is likely responsible for the disulfide bridge between TRX-interacting protein and TRX.
Copyright © 2012 The Protein Society.