Glutathione peroxidase (EC 188.8.131.52) (GSHPx) [1,2] is an enzyme that catalyzes
the reduction of hydroxyperoxides by glutathione. Its main function is to
protect against the damaging effect of endogenously formed hydroxyperoxides.
In higher vertebrates at least four forms of GSHPx are known to exist: a
ubiquitous cytosolic form (GSHPx-1), a gastrointestinal cytosolic for (GSHPx-GI) , a plasma secreted form (GSHPx-P) , and a epididymal secretory form
(GSHPx-EP). In addition to these characterized forms, the sequence of a
protein of unknown function  has been shown to be evolutionary related to
those of GSHPx's.
In filarial nematode parasites such as Brugia pahangi the major soluble
cuticular protein, known as gp29, is a secreted GSHPx which could provide a
mechanism of resistance to the immune reaction of the mammalian host by
neutralizing the products of the oxidative burst of leukocytes .
Escherichia coli protein btuE, a periplasmic protein involved in the transport
of vitamin B12, is also evolutionary related to GSHPx's; the significance of
this relationship is not yet clear.
The catalyic site of GSHPx contains a conserved residue which is either a
cysteine or, in many eukaryotic GSHPx, a selenocysteine . The region around
this active site residue can be used as a signature pattern. As a second
signature for this family of proteins we selected a highly conserved
octapeptide located in the central section of these proteins. We also
developed a profile that covers the whole conserved region.
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