Background Recently, several members of a vertebrate protein family containing a six trans-membrane (6TM) domain and involved in apoptosis and cancer (e.g. STEAP, STAMP1, TSAP6), have been identified in Golgi and cytoplasmic membranes. The exact function of these proteins remains unknown. Methods We related this 6TM domain to distant protein families using intermediate sequences and methods of iterative profile sequence similarity search. Results Here we show for the first time that this 6TM domain is homolog to the 6TM heme binding domain of both the NADPH oxidase (Nox) family and the YedZ family of bacterial oxidoreductases. Conclusions This finding gives novel insights about the existence of a previously undetected electron transfer system involved in apoptosis and cancer, and suggests further steps in the experimental characterization of these evolutionarily related families.