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BMC Res Notes. 2009 Sep 11;2:180. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-2-180.

BRICHOS - a superfamily of multidomain proteins with diverse functions.

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  • 1IFM Bioinformatics, Link√∂ping University, S-581 83 Link√∂ping, Sweden.



The BRICHOS domain has been found in 8 protein families with a wide range of functions and a variety of disease associations, such as respiratory distress syndrome, dementia and cancer. The domain itself is thought to have a chaperone function, and indeed three of the families are associated with amyloid formation, but its structure and many of its functional properties are still unknown.


The proteins in the BRICHOS superfamily have four regions with distinct properties. We have analysed the BRICHOS proteins focusing on sequence conservation, amino acid residue properties, native disorder and secondary structure predictions. Residue conservation shows large variations between the regions, and the spread of residue conservation between different families can vary greatly within the regions. The secondary structure predictions for the BRICHOS proteins show remarkable coherence even where sequence conservation is low, and there seems to be little native disorder.


The greatly variant rates of conservation indicates different functional constraints among the regions and among the families. We present three previously unknown BRICHOS families; group A, which may be ancestral to the ITM2 families; group B, which is a close relative to the gastrokine families, and group C, which appears to be a truly novel, disjoint BRICHOS family. The C-terminal region of group C has nearly identical sequences in all species ranging from fish to man and is seemingly unique to this family, indicating critical functional or structural properties.

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