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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 May 5;343(2):450-8. Epub 2006 Mar 10.

Disulphide bonds in casein micelle from milk.

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  • 1Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Laboratoire de Génomique et Physiologie de la Lactation, Jouy-en-Josas, F-78352, France.


Mammary epithelial cells synthesised and secreted caseins, the major milk proteins in most mammals, as large aggregates called micelles into the alveolar lumen they surround. We investigated the implication of the highly conserved cysteine(s) of kappa-casein in disulphide bond formation in casein micelles from several species. Dimers were found in all milks studied, confirming previous observation in ruminants. More importantly, the study of interchain disulphide bridges in mouse and rat casein micelles revealed that any casein possessing a cysteine is engaged in disulphide bond interchange; these species express four or five cysteine-containing caseins, respectively. We found that the main rodent caseins form both homo- and heterodimers. Additionally, disulphide bond formation among milk proteins was specific since the interaction of the caseins with cysteine-containing whey proteins was not observed in native casein micelles.

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