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Fibrillin-1 is a 350 kDa calcium-binding protein which assembles to form 10-12 nm microfibrils in the extracellular matrix (ECM). The structure of fibrillin-1 is dominated by two types of disulfide-rich motifs, the calcium- binding epidermal growth factor-like (cbEGF) and transforming growth factor beta binding protein-like (TB) domains. Disruption of fibrillin-1 domain structure and function contributes to the pathogenic mechanisms underlying two inherited diseases with very different etiologies: Marfan syndrome (MFS) and homocystinuria (HC). MFS is a connective tissue disease caused by mutations in the fibrillin-1 gene FBN1. Many missense mutations cause variable degrees of fibrillin-1 domain misfolding, which may affect the delivery of fibrillin-1 to the ECM and/or its assembly into microfibrils. HC is a metabolic disorder which affects methionine metabolism and results in raised serum levels of the highly reactive thiol-containing amino acid homocysteine. Patients with HC often exhibit ocular and skeletal defects resembling the MFS phenotype, suggesting that elevated homocysteine levels may lead to chemical reduction of disulfide bonds within fibrillin-1 domains resulting in the loss of native structure. Protein misfolding therefore is implicated in pathogenic mechanisms underlying MFS and HC.

Original publication




Journal article


Antioxid Redox Signal

Publication Date





338 - 346


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Extracellular Matrix, Fibrillin-1, Fibrillins, Homocystinuria, Humans, Marfan Syndrome, Microfilament Proteins, Molecular Sequence Data, Protein Conformation, Protein Denaturation, Protein Folding, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Transforming Growth Factor beta