The 1.8-Å crystal structure of human tear lipocalin reveals an extended branched cavity with capacity for multiple ligands

Daniel A. Breustedt, Ingo P. Korndörfer, Bernhard Redl, Arne Skerra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations

Abstract

In contrast with earlier assumptions, which classified human tear lipocalin (Tlc) as an outlier member of the lipocalin protein family, the 1.8-Å resolution crystal structure of the recombinant apoprotein confirms the typical eight-stranded antiparallel β-barrel architecture with an α-helix attached to it. The fold of Tlc most closely resembles the bovine dander allergen Bos d 2, a well characterized prototypic lipocalin, but also reveals similarity with β-lactoglobulin. However, compared with other lipocalin structures Tlc exhibits an extremely wide ligand pocket, whose entrance is formed by four partially disordered loops. The cavity deeply extends into the β-barrel structure, where it ends in two distinct lobes. This unusual structural feature explains the known promiscuity of Tlc for various ligands, with chemical structures ranging from lipids and retinoids to the macrocyclic antibiotic rifampin and even to microbial siderophores. Notably, earlier findings of biological activity as a thiol protease inhibitor have no correspondence in the three-dimensional structure of Tlc, rather it appears that its proteolytic fragments could be responsible for this phenomenon. Hence, the present structural analysis sheds new light on the ligand binding activity of this functionally obscure but abundant human lipocalin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-493
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume280
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2005

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