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Biochemistry (Mosc). 2017 Feb;82(2):106-121. doi: 10.1134/S0006297917020031.

α-Crystallins Are Small Heat Shock Proteins: Functional and Structural Properties.

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Institute of Protein Research, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino, Moscow Region, 142290, Russia.


During its life cycle, a cell can be subjected to various external negative effects. Many proteins provide cell protection, including small heat shock proteins (sHsp) that have chaperone-like activity. These proteins have several important functions involving prevention of apoptosis and retention of cytoskeletal integrity; also, sHsp take part in the recovery of enzyme activity. The action mechanism of sHsp is based on the binding of hydrophobic regions exposed to the surface of a molten globule. α-Crystallins presented in chordate cells as two αA- and αB-isoforms are the most studied small heat shock proteins. In this review, we describe the main functions of α-crystallins, features of their secondary and tertiary structures, and examples of their partners in protein-protein interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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