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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 Nov;84(22):7915-9.

Low molecular weight human pulmonary surfactant protein (SP5): isolation, characterization, and cDNA and amino acid sequences.

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  • 1California Biotechnology, Mountain View 94043.


Pulmonary surfactant is a lipid-protein complex that promotes alveolar stability by lowering the surface tension at the air-fluid interface in the peripheral air spaces. A group of hydrophobic surfactant-associated proteins has been shown to be essential for rapid surface film formation by surfactant phospholipids. We have purified a hydrophobic surfactant protein of approximately 5 kDa that we term SP5 from bronchopulmonary lavage fluid from a patient with alveolar proteinosis and shown that it promotes rapid surface film formation by simple mixtures of phospholipids. We have derived the full amino acid sequence of human SP5 from the nucleotide sequence of cDNAs identified with oligonucleotide probes based on the NH2-terminal sequence of SP5. SP5 isolated from surfactant is a fragment of a much larger precursor protein (21 kDa). The precursor contains an extremely hydrophobic region of 34 amino acids that comprises most of the mature SP5. This hydrophobicity explains the unusual solubility characteristics of SP5 and the fact that it is lipid-associated when isolated from lung.

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