Cellular functions hinge on the ability of proteins to adopt their correct folds, and misfolded proteins can lead to disease. Here, we focus on the proteins that catalyze disulfide bond formation, a step in the oxidative folding pathway that takes place in specialized cellular compartments. In the endoplasmic reticulum of eukaryotes, disulfide formation is catalyzed by protein disulfide isomerase (PDI); by contrast, prokaryotes produce a family of disulfide bond (Dsb) proteins, which together achieve an equivalent outcome in the bacterial periplasm. The recent crystal structure of yeast PDI has increased our understanding of the function and mechanism of PDI. Comparison of the structure of yeast PDI with those of bacterial DsbC and DsbG reveals some similarities but also striking differences that suggest directions for future research aimed at unraveling the catalytic mechanism of disulfide bond formation in the cell.