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J Biol Chem. 2001 Aug 17;276(33):31171-8. Epub 2001 Jun 6.

Structural evidence for a functional role of human tissue nonspecific alkaline phosphatase in bone mineralization.

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Centre d'Etudes de Biologie Prénatale-SESEP, Université de Versailles-Saint Quentin en Yvelines, 78000 Versailles, France.


The human tissue nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) is found in liver, kidney, and bone. Mutations in the TNAP gene can lead to Hypophosphatasia, a rare inborn disease that is characterized by defective bone mineralization. TNAP is 74% homologous to human placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP) whose crystal structure has been recently determined at atomic resolution (Le Du, M. H., Stigbrand, T., Taussig, M. J., Ménez, A., and Stura, E. A. (2001) J. Biol. Chem, 276, 9158-9165). The degree of homology allowed us to build a reliable TNAP model to investigate the relationship between mutations associated with hypophosphatasia and their probable consequences on the activity or the structure of the enzyme. The mutations are clustered within five crucial regions, namely the active site and its vicinity, the active site valley, the homodimer interface, the crown domain, and the metal-binding site. The crown domain and the metal-binding domain are mammalian-specific and were observed for the first time in the PLAP structure. The crown domain contains a collagen binding loop. A synchrotron radiation x-ray fluorescence study confirms that the metal in the metal-binding site is a calcium ion. Several severe mutations in TNAP occur around this calcium site, suggesting that calcium may be of critical importance for the TNAP function. The presence of this extra metal-binding site gives new insights on the controversial role observed for calcium.

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