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Structure. 2002 Nov;10(11):1533-40.

Crystal structure of the human supernatant protein factor.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Berne, Freiestrasse 3, Bern, Switzerland.


Supernatant protein factor (SPF) promotes the epoxidation of squalene catalyzed by microsomes. Several studies suggest its in vivo role in the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway by a yet unknown mechanism. SPF belongs to a family of lipid binding proteins called CRAL_TRIO, which include yeast phosphatidylinositol transfer protein Sec14 and tocopherol transfer protein TTP. The crystal structure of human SPF at a resolution of 1.9 A reveals a two domain topology. The N-terminal 275 residues form a Sec14-like domain, while the C-terminal 115 residues consist of an eight-stranded jelly-roll barrel similar to that found in many viral protein structures. The ligand binding cavity has a peculiar horseshoe-like shape. Contrary to the Sec14 crystal structure, the lipid-exchange loop is in a closed conformation, suggesting a mechanism for lipid exchange.

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