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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Aug;65(15):2307-33. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-8019-0.

The leucine-rich repeat structure.

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  • 1Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. jordi.bella@manchester.ac.uk

Abstract

The leucine-rich repeat is a widespread structural motif of 20-30 amino acids with a characteristic repetitive sequence pattern rich in leucines. Leucine-rich repeat domains are built from tandems of two or more repeats and form curved solenoid structures that are particularly suitable for protein-protein interactions. Thousands of protein sequences containing leucine-rich repeats have been identified by automatic annotation methods. Three-dimensional structures of leucine-rich repeat domains determined to date reveal a degree of structural variability that translates into the considerable functional versatility of this protein superfamily. As the essential structural principles become well established, the leucine-rich repeat architecture is emerging as an attractive framework for structural prediction and protein engineering. This review presents an update of the current understanding of leucine-rich repeat structure at the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary levels and discusses specific examples from recently determined three-dimensional structures.

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