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Pentaxins (or pentraxins) constitute a family of proteins that are involved
in acute immunological responses . Three of the principal members of the
pentaxin family are serum proteins: namely, C-reactive protein (CRP) ,
serum amyloid P component protein (SAP) , and female protein (FP) .
CRP is expressed in response to tissue damage or inflammation. The protein
resembles antibody and performs several functions associated with host
defence: it promotes agglutination, bacterial capsular swelling and phago-
cytosis, and activates the classical complement pathway through its calcium-
dependent binding to phosphocholine. SAP is a vertebrate protein found in
all types of amyloid deposits, in glomerular basement menbrane and in
elastic fibres in blood vessels. SAP binds to various lipoprotein ligands
in a calcium-dependent manner, and it has been suggested that, in mammals,
this may have important implications in atherosclerosis and amyloidosis.
FP is a SAP homologue found in the Syrian hamster that is unique because
its synthesis is controlled by sex hormones.
Pentaxin proteins expressed in the nervous system are neural pentaxin I
(NPI) and II (NPII) . NPI and NPII are homologous and can exist within
one species. It is suggested that both proteins mediate the uptake of
synaptic macromolecules and play a role in synaptic plasticity. Apexin, a
sperm acrosomal protein, is a homologue of NPII found in guinea pigs .
PTX3 (or TSG-14) protein is a cytokine-induced protein that is homologous
to CRPs and SAPs, but its function is not yet known.
PENTAXIN is a 7-element fingerprint that provides a signature for the
pentaxin family. The fingerprint was derived from an initial alignment of
10 sequences: the motifs were drawn from the central and C-terminal regions
of the alignment - motif 3 includes the region encoded by PROSITE pattern
PENTAXIN (PS00289), a hexapeptide that includes a cysteine residue known to
be involved in disulphide bond formation in CRPs and SRPs. Three iterations
on OWL30.2 were required to reach convergence, at which point a true set
comprising 35 sequences was identified. A single partial match was also
found, LIMU_LIMPO, a limulin fragment from Limulus polyphemus that matches
motifs 1 and 2.
An update on SPTR37_9f identified a true set of 32 sequences, and 4