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Serum Albumin as Physiological Chaperone


, : Serum Albumin as Physiological Chaperone.

Although serum albumin has an established function as a transport protein, evidence is emerging that serum albumin may also have a role as a molecular chaperone. Using established techniques to characterize chaperone interactions, this study demonstrates that bovine serum albumin: 1) preferentially binds stressed over unstressed client proteins; 2) forms stable, soluble, high molecular weight complexes with stressed client proteins; 3) reduces the aggregation of client proteins when it is present at physiological levels; and 4) inhibits amyloid formation by both WT and L55P transthyretin. Although the antiaggregatory effect of serum albumin is maintained in the presence of physiological levels of Ca2+ and Cu2+, the presence of free fatty acids significantly alters this activity: stabilizing serum albumin at normal levels but diminishing chaperone-like activity at high concentrations. Moreover, here it is shown that depletion of albumin from human plasma leads to a significant increase in aggregation under physiologically relevant heat and shear stresses. This study demonstrates that serum albumin possesses chaperone-like properties and that this activity is maintained under a number of physiologically relevant conditions.

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