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TWO MAIN FAMILIES OF LIPID BINDING PROTEINS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED IN PARASITIC PLATYHELMINTHES: hydrophobic ligand binding proteins (HLBPs) and fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs). Members of the former family of proteins are specific to the Cestoda class, while FABPs are conserved across a wide range of animal species. Because Platyhelminthes are unable to synthesize their own lipids, these lipid-binding proteins are important molecules in these organisms. HLBPs are a high molecular mass complex of proteins and lipids. They are composed of subunits of low molecular mass proteins and a wide array of lipid molecules ranging from CoA esters to cholesterol. These proteins are excretory-secretory molecules and are key serological tools for diagnosis of diseases caused by cestodes. FABPs are mainly intracellular proteins of low molecular weight. They are also vaccine candidates. Despite that the knowledge of their function is scarce, the differences in their molecular organization, ligand preferences, intra/extracellular localization, evolution, and phylogenetic distribution, suggest that platyhelminths HLBPs and FABPs should play different functions. FABPs might be involved in the removal of fatty acids from the inner surface of the cell membrane and in their subsequent targeting to specific cellular destinations. In contrast, HLBPs might be involved in fatty acid uptake from the host environment.


Gabriela Alvite, Adriana Esteves. Lipid binding proteins from parasitic platyhelminthes. Frontiers in physiology. 2012;3:363

PMID: 22988444

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