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Structure and function of human α-lactalbumin made lethal to tumor cells (HAMLET)-type complexes
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics.
2010 (English)In: The FEBS Journal, ISSN 1742-464X, E-ISSN 1742-4658, Vol. 277, no 22, 4614-4625 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Human α-lactalbumin made lethal to tumor cells (HAMLET) and equine lysozyme with oleic acid (ELOA) are complexes consisting of protein and fatty acid that exhibit cytotoxic activities, drastically differing from the activity of their respective proteinaceous compounds. Since the discovery of HAMLET in the 1990s, a wealth of information has been accumulated, illuminating the structural, functional and therapeutic properties of protein complexes with oleic acid, which is summarized in this review. In vitro, both HAMLET and ELOA are produced by using ion-exchange columns preconditioned with oleic acid. However, the complex of human α-lactalbumin with oleic acid with the antitumor activity of HAMLET was found to be naturally present in the acidic fraction of human milk, where it was discovered by serendipity. Structural studies have shown that α-lactalbumin in HAMLET and lysozyme in ELOA are partially unfolded, 'molten-globule'-like, thereby rendering the complexes dynamic and in conformational exchange. HAMLET exists in the monomeric form, whereas ELOA mostly exists as oligomers and the fatty acid stoichiometry varies, with HAMLET holding an average of approximately five oleic acid molecules, whereas ELOA contains a considerably larger number (11- 48). Potent tumoricidal activity is found in both HAMLET and ELOA, and HAMLET has also shown strong potential as an antitumor drug in different in vivo animal models and clinical studies. The gain of new, beneficial function upon partial protein unfolding and fatty acid binding is a remarkable phenomenon, and may reflect a significant generic route of functional diversification of proteins via varying their conformational states and associated ligands.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 277, no 22, 4614-4625 p.
Keyword [en]
α-lactalbumin; cancer; cell death; ELOA; HAMLET; lysozyme; oleate; oleic acid; protein folding
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-42959DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2010.07890.xISI: 000283600300005PubMedID: 20977665OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-42959DiVA: diva2:410829
Available from: 2011-04-15 Created: 2011-04-15 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

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