Thioredoxin-related protein of 14 kDa, TRP14, has previously been identified only in humans. Here we report the identification and expression of an amphioxus TRP14 gene, named AmphiTRP14, the first such data in a non-mammalian organism. AmphiTRP14 consists of a 372-bp open reading frame coding for a 123-amino-acid protein with a calculated molecular weight of 14 kDa. It shares 56% identity with human TRP14 and possesses a highly conserved motif CPDC. Sequence comparison suggests the evolutionary appearance of the four-exon-three-intron organization of TRP14 genes after the split of protostome/deuterostome, which is highly conserved since then. AmphiTRP14 has been successfully expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. The recombinant protein exhibited features characteristic of human TRP14, including a reductase activity towards insulin. Both in situ hybridization histochemistry and immunohistochemistry revealed that AmphiTRP14 was expressed in a tissue-specific manner, with the most abundant expression in the hepatic caecum, ovary and hind-gut. This suggests that AmphiTRP14 plays a fundamental but tissue-specific role, or alternatively reflects differences in the tissue susceptibility to oxidative damage
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