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J Biol Chem. 1988 Sep 5;263(25):12559-63.

Biochemical and amino acid sequence analysis of human eosinophil granule major basic protein.

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Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905.


Eosinophil granule major basic protein (MBP) is a relatively low molecular weight cationic (pI greater than 10) protein present in the crystalloid core of the eosinophil granule. Amino acid sequence analysis of this protein was undertaken as part of an analysis of the structural basis of the potent cytotoxic activities of MBP on parasites and mammalian cells. Many conventional sequencing strategies were unworkable because of the unusual amino acid composition of MBP and its insolubility in solutions buffered at neutral pH. Less conventional chemical reactions, including cyanogen bromide-induced cleavage at tryptophan and acid-induced cleavage at aspartic acid, were used successfully to obtain peptides which allowed definition of the amino acid sequence of MBP. Characterization of MBP by reverse-phase high pressure liquid chromatography and two-dimensional gel analysis showed no microheterogeneity that might be attributed to post-translational modifications. Comparison of the MBP sequence with a protein sequence data base showed that MBP has no significant sequence homology with other characterized proteins. The basicity (pI 10.9) and hydrophobicity predicted from the MBP sequence are likely responsible for the observed affinity of this cytotoxic molecule for cell surfaces and some serum proteins.

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