The lipocalin protein family: a role in celll regulation

Darren R. Flower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The lipocalins, a large, diverse, but relatively poorly understood family of small extracellular proteins, are characterized by the ability to bind small hydrophobic molecules, such as retinol, and by their binding to specific cell surface receptors. These general properties suggest such proteins as appropriate transporters transferring biologically hazardous molecules in a safe and controlled manner between cells. Moreover, many lipocalins have been implicated in the regulation of cell homeostasis: apolipoprotein D, quiescience specific protein, purpurin, α-1-microglobulin, and NGAL. This combination of direct and indirect evidence suggests that the lipocalin protein family may be involved, in a quite general way, in the mediation of cell regulation and that many presently functionless family members might act in this way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-11
Number of pages5
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 1994


  • lipocalin
  • cell regulation
  • cell binding
  • apolipoptotein D


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