Homologs of gp91phox: Cloning and tissue expression of Nox3, Nox4, and Nox5

Guangjie Cheng, Zehong Cao, Xiangxi Xu, Erwin G.Van Meir, J. David Lambeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

686 Scopus citations


gp91phox is the catalytic subunit of the respiratory burst oxidase, an NADPH-dependent, superoxide generating enzyme present in phagocytes. In phagocytes, the enzyme functions in host defense, but reactive oxygen generation has also been described in a variety of non-phagocytic cells, including cancer cells. We previously reported the cloning of Nox1 (NADPH oxidase1), a homolog of gp91phox, its expression in colon and vascular smooth muscle, and its oncogenic properties when overexpressed [Suh et al. (1999). Nature 401, 79-82]. Herein, we report the cloning and tissue expression of three additional homologs of gp91phox, termed Nox3, Nox4 and Nox5, members of a growing family of gp91phox homologs. All are predicted to encode proteins of around 65 kDa, and like gp91phox, all show 5-6 conserved predicted transmembrane α-helices containing putative heme binding regions as well as a flavoprotein homology domain containing predicted binding sites for both FAD and NADPH. Nox3 is expressed primarily in fetal tissues, and Nox4 is expressed in not only fetal tissues, but also kidney, placenta and glioblastoma cells. Nox5 is expressed in a variety of fetal tissues as well as in adult spleen and uterus. Nox isoforms are aberrantly expressed in several cells derived from human cancers, with Nox4 being the isoform most frequently expressed in the tumor cells investigated. Thus, expression of Nox family members is likely to account for some of the reactive oxygen generation seen in non-phagocytic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 16 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene expression
  • gp91phox
  • NADPH oxidase
  • Nox
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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