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J Biol Chem. 1997 Nov 14;272(46):29068-75.

Assembly of the warfarin-sensitive vitamin K 2,3-epoxide reductase enzyme complex in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, The Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157, USA.


gamma-Carboxylation of vitamin K-dependent proteins requires a functional vitamin K cycle to produce the active vitamin K cofactor for the gamma-carboxylase which posttranslationally modifies precursors of these proteins to contain gamma-carboxyglutamic acid residues. The warfarin-sensitive enzyme vitamin K epoxide reductase (VKOR) of the cycle reduces vitamin K 2,3-epoxide to the active vitamin K hydroquinone cofactor. Because of the importance of warfarin as an anticoagulant in prophylactic medicine and as a poison in rodent pest control, numerous attempts have been made to understand the molecular mechanism underlying warfarin-sensitive vitamin K 2,3-epoxide reduction. In search for protein components that could be involved in this reaction we designed an in vitro gamma-carboxylation test system where the warfarin-sensitive VKOR produces the cofactor for the gamma-carboxylase. Dissection of this system by chromatographic techniques has identified a member(s) of the glutathione S-transferase gene family as one component of the VKOR enzyme complex in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. The affinity-purified glutathione S-transferase(s) was sensitive to warfarin but lost its warfarin sensitivity and glutathione S-transferase activity upon association with lipids in the presence of Mn2+ or Ca2+. In the gamma-carboxylation test system, loss of warfarin-sensitive glutathione S-transferase activity coincided with formation of the VKOR enzyme complex. It is proposed that formation of VKOR in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane resembles formation of the lipoxygenase enzyme complex where the glutathione S-transferase-related FLAP protein binds cytosolic lipoxygenase to form a membrane enzyme complex.

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