Significance: The mammalian endoplasmic reticulum (ER) houses a large family of twenty thioredoxin-like proteins of which protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) is the archetypal member. Although the PDI family is best known for its role in oxidative protein folding of secretory proteins in the ER, these thioredoxin-like proteins fulfill ever-expanding roles, both within the secretory pathway and beyond.
Recent advances: Secreted PDI family proteins have now been shown to serve a critical role in platelet thrombus formation and fibrin generation. Utilizing intravital microscopy to visualize thrombus formation in mice, we have demonstrated the presence of extracellular PDI antigen during thrombus formation following injury of the vascular wall. Inhibition of PDI abrogates thrombus formation in vivo (16, 26, 46, 55). These observations have been extended to other PDI family members, including ERp57 (39, 116, 118, 123) and ERp5 (77). The vascular thiol isomerases are those PDI family members secreted from platelets and/or endothelium (40): PDI, ERp57, ERp5, ERp72, ERp44, ERp29, and TMX3. We focus here on PDI (16, 46, 55), ERp57 (39, 116, 118, 123), and ERp5 (77), which have been implicated in thrombus formation in vivo.
Critical issues: It would appear that a system of thiol isomerase redox catalysts has been hijacked from the ER to regulate thrombus formation in the vasculature.
Future directions: How this redox system is trafficked to and regulated at the cell surface, the identity of extracellular substrates, why so many thiol isomerases are required, and which thiol isomerase functions are necessary are critical unanswered questions in understanding the role of thiol isomerases in thrombus formation.