Two thioredoxin reductases, trxr-1 and trxr-2, have differential physiological roles in Caenorhabditis elegans

Mol Cells. 2012 Aug;34(2):209-18. doi: 10.1007/s10059-012-0155-6. Epub 2012 Jul 25.


Thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) is a member of the pyridine nucleotide-disulfide reductase family, which mainly functions in the thioredoxin system. TrxR is found in all living organisms and exists in two major ubiquitous isoenzymes in higher eukaryotic cells; One is cytosolic and the other mitochondrial. Mitochondrial TrxR functions to protect mitochondria from oxidative stress, where reactive oxidative species are mainly generated, while cytosolic TrxR plays a role to maintain optimal oxido-reductive status in cytosol. In this study, we report differential physiological functions of these two TrxRs in C. elegans. trxr-1, the cytosolic TrxR, is highly expressed in pharynx, vulva and intestine, whereas trxr-2, the mitochondrial TrxR, is mainly expressed in pharyngeal and body wall muscles. Deficiency of the non-selenoprotein trxr-2 caused defects in longevity and delayed development under stress conditions, while deletion mutation of the selenoprotein trxr-1 resulted in interference in acidification of lysosomal compartment in intestine. Interestingly, the acidification defect of trxr-1(jh143) deletion mutant was rescued, not only by selenocystein-containing wild type TRXR-1, but also cysteine-substituted mutant TRXR-1. Both trxr-1 and trxr-2 were up-regulated when worms were challenged by environmental stress such as heat shock. These results suggest that trxr-1 and trxr-2 function differently at organismal level presumably by their differential sub-cellular localization in C. elegans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / enzymology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Isoenzymes
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Thioredoxin-Disulfide Reductase / genetics
  • Thioredoxin-Disulfide Reductase / metabolism*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Thioredoxin-Disulfide Reductase