The hetero-oligomeric retinoid oxidoreductase complex (ROC) catalyzes the interconversion of all-trans-retinol and all-trans-retinaldehyde to maintain the steady-state output of retinaldehyde, the precursor of all-trans-retinoic acid that regulates the transcription of numerous genes. The interconversion is catalyzed by two distinct components of the ROC: The NAD (H)-dependent retinol dehydrogenase 10 (RDH10) and the NADP(H)-dependent dehydrogenase reductase 3 (DHRS3). The binding between RDH10 and DHRS3 subunits in the ROC results in mutual activation of the subunits. The molecular basis for their activation is currently unknown. Here, we applied site-directed mutagenesis to investigate the roles of amino acid residues previously implied in subunit interactions in other SDRs to obtain the first insight into the subunit interactions in the ROC. The results of these studies suggest that the cofactor binding to RDH10 subunit is critical for the activation of DHRS3 subunit and vice versa. The C-terminal residues 317-331 of RDH10 are critical for the activity of RDH10 homo-oligomers but not for the binding to DHRS3. The C-terminal residues 291- 295 are required for DHRS3 subunit activity of the ROC. The highly conserved C-terminal cysteines appear to be involved in inter-subunit communications, affecting the affinity of the cofactor binding site in RDH10 homo-oligomers as well as in the ROC. Modeling of the ROC quaternary structure based on other known structures of SDRs suggests that its integral membrane-associated subunits may be inserted in adjacent membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), making the formation and function of the ROC dependent on the dynamic nature of the tubular ER network.