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J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:156795. doi: 10.1155/2012/156795. Epub 2012 Oct 14.

α-Enolase, a multifunctional protein: its role on pathophysiological situations.

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Biological Clues of the Invasive and Metastatic Phenotype Research Group, (IDIBELL) Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques de Bellvitge, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, 08908 Barcelona, Spain.


α-Enolase is a key glycolytic enzyme in the cytoplasm of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and is considered a multifunctional protein. α-enolase is expressed on the surface of several cell types, where it acts as a plasminogen receptor, concentrating proteolytic plasmin activity on the cell surface. In addition to glycolytic enzyme and plasminogen receptor functions, α-Enolase appears to have other cellular functions and subcellular localizations that are distinct from its well-established function in glycolysis. Furthermore, differential expression of α-enolase has been related to several pathologies, such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, among others. We have identified α-enolase as a plasminogen receptor in several cell types. In particular, we have analyzed its role in myogenesis, as an example of extracellular remodelling process. We have shown that α-enolase is expressed on the cell surface of differentiating myocytes, and that inhibitors of α-enolase/plasminogen binding block myogenic fusion in vitro and skeletal muscle regeneration in mice. α-Enolase could be considered as a marker of pathological stress in a high number of diseases, performing several of its multiple functions, mainly as plasminogen receptor. This paper is focused on the multiple roles of the α-enolase/plasminogen axis, related to several pathologies.

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