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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1996 Nov 11;1309(1-2):89-99.

Cloning and characterization of the cDNA encoding human biliverdin-IX alpha reductase.

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  • 1Department of Physiological Chemistry, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Showa University, Tokyo, Japan.


Biliverdin reductase is classified into two isoforms in substrate specificity; biliverdin-IX alpha reductase and biliverdin-IX beta reductase with a molecular mass of 22 kDa and 34-42 kDa, respectively. We have cloned the cDNA encoding human biliverdin-IX alpha reductase from MOLT4 cDNA library. The cDNA of 1146 bp in nucleotide length contained an entire reading frame coding 296 amino acid residues. The NADH/NADPH binding consensus sequence was found in the amino-terminal region. Comparison between human and rat biliverdin-IX alpha reductases showed 82.8% identity in amino acid sequences and 80.3% identity in the coding nucleotides. The amino acid sequence of human biliverdin-IX alpha reductase showed no significant homology to that of human biliverdin-IX beta reductase. Northern blot analysis of poly(A) RNA from eight different human tissues revealed that the reductase mRNA was abundant in the brain, lung and pancreas but not in the liver. The distribution pattern of biliverdin-IX alpha message was different from that of heme oxygenase activity which is known to be high in the liver and to be low in the heart and lung.

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