Retinol-binding protein (RBP), the specific transporter in plasma of retinol and transthyretin (TTR), transporter of thyroid hormones, form in higher vertebrates under physiological conditions, a macromolecular complex that prevents glomerular filtration of the low molecular mass RBP. The crystal structures of two RBP–TTR complexes have shed light on many aspects of the interaction between the two transporters and explained observations made with other experimental methods. Since higher levels of RBP are associated with insulin resistance in obesity and type 2 diabetes it has been suggested that dissociation of the complex with the consequent renal elimination of RBP might be a way to treat the disease.
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