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From Protein to Peptides: a Spectrum of Non-Hydrolytic Functions of Acetylcholinesterase

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Acetylcholinesterase (AChE), a member of the α/β-hydrolase fold superfamily of proteins, is a serine hydrolase responsible for the hydrolysis of the well studied neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh). However, it is becoming clear that AChE has a range of actions other than this ‘classical’ role. Non-classical AChE functions have been identified in apoptosis, stress-responses, neuritogenesis, and neurodegeneration. Furthermore, these non-classical roles are attributable not only to the native protein, which appears to act as a mediary binding protein under a number of circumstances, but also to peptides cleaved from the parent protein. Peptides cleaved from AChE can act as independent signalling molecules. Here we discuss the implications of non-hydrolytic functions of this multi-tasking protein.

Keywords: 3D X-ray structure; Acetylcholinesterase; Tetramers; adhesion; apoptosis; exons; glycophosphatidylinositol (GPI); neurogenesis; non-hydrolytic function; signalling peptide; synaptic

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.

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