The mitochondrial thioredoxin reductase system (TrxR2) in vascular endothelium controls peroxynitrite levels and tissue integrity

Petra Kameritsch, Miriam Singer, Christoph Nuernbergk, Natalia Rios, Aníbal M. Reyes, Kjestine Schmidt, Julian Kirsch, Holger Schneider, Susanna Müller, Kristin Pogoda, Ruicen Cui, Thomas Kirchner, Cor de Wit, Bärbel Lange-Sperandio, Ulrich Pohl, Marcus Conrad, Rafael Radi*, Heike Beck

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


The mitochondrial thioredoxin/peroxiredoxin system encompasses NADPH, thioredoxin reductase 2 (TrxR2), thioredoxin 2, and peroxiredoxins 3 and 5 (Prx3 and Prx5) and is crucial to regulate cell redox homeostasis via the efficient catabolism of peroxides (TrxR2 and Trxrd2 refer to the mitochondrial thioredoxin reductase protein and gene, respectively). Here, we report that endothelial TrxR2 controls both the steady-state concentration of peroxynitrite, the product of the reaction of superoxide radical and nitric oxide, and the integrity of the vascular system. Mice with endothelial deletion of the Trxrd2 gene develop increased vascular stiffness and hypertrophy of the vascular wall. Furthermore, they suffer from renal abnormalities, including thickening of the Bowman’s capsule, glomerulosclerosis, and functional alterations. Mechanistically, we show that loss of Trxrd2 results in enhanced peroxynitrite steady-state levels in both vascular endothelial cells and vessels by using a highly sensitive redox probe, fluorescein-boronate. High steady-state peroxynitrite levels were further found to coincide with elevated protein tyrosine nitration in renal tissue and a substantial change of the redox state of Prx3 toward the oxidized protein, even though glutaredoxin 2 (Grx2) expression increased in parallel. Additional studies using a mitochondria-specific fluorescence probe (MitoPY1) in vessels revealed that enhanced peroxynitrite levels are indeed generated in mitochondria. Treatment with Mn(III)tetrakis(1-methyl-4-pyridyl)porphyrin [Mn(III) TMPyP], a peroxynitrite-decomposition catalyst, blunted intravascular formation of peroxynitrite. Our data provide compelling evidence for a yet-unrecognized role of TrxR2 in balancing the nitric oxide/peroxynitrite ratio in endothelial cells in vivo and thus establish a link between enhanced mitochondrial peroxynitrite and disruption of vascular integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1921828118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 16.02.2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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