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Open Access Highly Accessed Gene family update

The human protein disulfide isomerase gene family

James J Galligan1 and Dennis R Petersen2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA

2 Molecular Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences Program, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA

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Human Genomics 2012, 6:6  doi:10.1186/1479-7364-6-6

Published: 5 July 2012

Abstract

Enzyme-mediated disulfide bond formation is a highly conserved process affecting over one-third of all eukaryotic proteins. The enzymes primarily responsible for facilitating thiol-disulfide exchange are members of an expanding family of proteins known as protein disulfide isomerases (PDIs). These proteins are part of a larger superfamily of proteins known as the thioredoxin protein family (TRX). As members of the PDI family of proteins, all proteins contain a TRX-like structural domain and are predominantly expressed in the endoplasmic reticulum. Subcellular localization and the presence of a TRX domain, however, comprise the short list of distinguishing features required for gene family classification. To date, the PDI gene family contains 21 members, varying in domain composition, molecular weight, tissue expression, and cellular processing. Given their vital role in protein-folding, loss of PDI activity has been associated with the pathogenesis of numerous disease states, most commonly related to the unfolded protein response (UPR). Over the past decade, UPR has become a very attractive therapeutic target for multiple pathologies including Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver disease, and type-2 diabetes. Understanding the mechanisms of protein-folding, specifically thiol-disulfide exchange, may lead to development of a novel class of therapeutics that would help alleviate a wide range of diseases by targeting the UPR.

Keywords:
Disulfide bond; Thioredoxin; Calsequestrin; UPR; Unfolded protein response; ER stress