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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Oct 18;1482(1-2):272-83.

Human neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin and homologous proteins in rat and mouse.

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The Granulocyte Research Laboratory, Department of Hematology, The National University Hospital, L-4042, Rigshospitalet, 9 Blegdamsvej, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) is a 25-kDa lipocalin originally purified from human neutrophils. It exists in monomeric and homo- and heterodimeric forms, the latter as a dimer with human neutrophil gelatinase. It is secreted from specific granules of activated human neutrophils. Homologous proteins have been identified in mouse (24p3/uterocalin) and rat (alpha(2)-microglobulin-related protein/neu-related lipocalin). Structural data have confirmed a typical lipocalin fold of NGAL with an eight-stranded beta-barrel, but with an unusually large cavity lined with more polar and positively charged amino acid residues than normally seen in lipocalins. Chemotactic formyl-peptides from bacteria have been proposed as ligands of NGAL, but binding experiments and the structure of NGAL do not support this hypothesis. Besides neutrophils, NGAL is expressed in most tissues normally exposed to microorganisms, and its synthesis is induced in epithelial cells during inflammation. This may indicate either a microbicidal activity of NGAL or a role in regulation of inflammation or cellular growth, putative functions yet to be demonstrated.

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