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J Biol Chem. 1985 Jan 10;260(1):522-30.

Domain structure of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, a glycoprotein of the endoplasmic reticulum.


We present and evaluate a model for the secondary structure and membrane orientation of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, the glycoprotein of the endoplasmic reticulum that controls the rate of cholesterol biosynthesis. This model is derived from proteolysis experiments that separate the 97-kilodalton enzyme into two domains, an NH2-terminal membrane-bound domain of 339 residues and a COOH-terminal water-soluble domain of 548 residues that projects into the cytoplasm and contains the catalytic site. These domains were identified by reaction with antibodies against synthetic peptides corresponding to specific regions in the molecule. Computer modeling of the reductase structure, based on the amino acid sequence as determined by molecular cloning, predicts that the NH2-terminal domain contains 7 membrane-spanning regions. Analysis of the gene structure reveals that each proposed membrane-spanning region is encoded in a separate exon and is separated from the adjacent membrane-spanning region by an intron. The COOH-terminal domain of the reductase is predicted to contain two beta-structures flanked by a series of amphipathic helices, which together may constitute the active site. The NH2-terminal membrane-bound domain of the reductase bears some resemblance to rhodopsin, the photoreceptor protein of retinal rod disks and the only other intracellular glycoprotein whose amino acid sequence is known.

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