Reg protein was first found in pancreatic stones. It was named Pancreatic Stone Protein and later renamed lithostathine, as it was assumed to prevent stone formation. The 144 amino acid protein is O-glycosylated on Thr-5. The glycan chain is variable in length and in charge. Lithostathine 3-D organization is of the C-lectin type, even though it is unlikely to have any functional calcium-binding site. The Arg11-Ile12 bond is readily cleaved by trypsin the resulting C-terminal polypeptide precipitates at physiological pH and tends to form fibrils. The protein was more recently found in the regenerating endocrine pancreas and it was named Reg (for regenerating) protein. Numerous proteins related to Reg have been identified successively in several mammalian species. They constitute the Reg superfamily. Reg genes show the same organization and are located in the same chromosome region. These genes are therefore likely to derive from a common ancestor gene by duplication. In the course of evolution, they may have diverged in tissue-related expression and function. In the endocrine pancreas, Reg protein stimulates islet beta-cell growth and reduces experimental diabetes via the activation of a high affinity receptor. The role of the protein produced by the exocrine pancreas, however, is controversial. Not only is Reg(slash)lithostathine unlikely to be a physiologically relevant pancreatic stone inhibitor, but it may contribute to stone formation. We suggest that it might help prevent the harmful activation of protease precursors in the pancreatic juice. The protein provides a useful model for examining the conformational changes associated with globular to fibril transformation.
Keywords: Protein-X, Pancreatic Stone, Pancreatic Thread, P19, Lithostathine, Reg protein, HISTORICAL SURVEY, Serine Proteases, E-Selectin, Anti-Freeze Proteins
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