Transthyretin (TTR, formerly called prealbumin), one of the transporters of the hormone thyroxine and the lipocalin retinol-binding protein (RBP), the specific carrier of the vitamin, are known to form, under physiological conditions, a macromolecular complex that is believed to play an important physiological role: prevention of glomerular filtration of the low molecular weight RBP in the kidneys. The physiological significance of complex formation is discussed first, followed by a brief description of the three-dimensional structure of the two participating proteins. The two X-ray models of the complex available are subsequently discussed and compared and finally the non-crystallographic evidence that supports these models is reviewed.
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