Monday, August 18, 2008

Protein of the Day #1: Alpha-2 Macroglobulin

Long time no post. I've decided to try a "Protein of the Day" post mostly to help myself remember some of them.

For protein #1, I've picked alpha-2 macroglobulin, a serum protease inhibitor. NCBI's Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a nice curated resource for protein/gene information and its where I often turn first. Wikipedia has a nice entry too - the quality of wikipedia articles in biochemistry is usually excellent in my experience so far.

Its a glycoprotein, so there are some extra carbohydrates attached. There are four subunits held together by SS bonds. The gene structure is relatively complicated, with 36 exons (same number in human and mouse. It is thought to be evolutionarily related to the C3 and C4 proteins.

My interest in it mainly stems from the fact that it is important in mammalian hibernation. Among many other effects, it inhibits coagulation and fibrinolysis.

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