Chem Biol Interact 2003 Feb;143-144:621-31
Protein Function Discovery Facility, Queen's University, Ont., K7L 3N6, Kingston, Canada.
The aldo-keto reductases (AKRs) are one of the three enzyme superfamilies that perform oxidoreduction on a wide variety of natural and foreign substrates. A systematic nomenclature for the AKR superfamily was adopted in 1996 and was updated in September 2000 (visit www.med.upenn.edu/akr). Investigators have been diligent in submitting sequences of functional proteins to the Web site. With the new additions, the superfamily contains 114 proteins expressed in prokaryotes and eukaryotes that are distributed over 14 families (AKR1-AKR14). The AKR1 family contains the aldose reductases, the aldehyde reductases, the hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases and steroid 5beta-reductases, and is the largest. Other families of interest include AKR6, which includes potassium channel beta-subunits, and AKR7 the aflatoxin aldehyde reductases. Two new families include AKR13 (yeast aldose reductase) and AKR14 (Escherichia coli aldehyde reductase). Crystal structures of many AKRs and their complexes with ligands are available in the PDB and accessible through the Web site. Each structure has the characteristic (alpha/beta)(8)-barrel motif of the superfamily, a conserved cofactor binding site and a catalytic tetrad, and variable loop structures that define substrate specificity. Although the majority of AKRs are monomeric proteins of about 320 amino acids in length, the AKR2, AKR6 and AKR7 family may form multimers. To expand the nomenclature to accommodate multimers, we recommend that the composition and stoichiometry be listed. For example, AKR7A1:AKR7A4 (1:3) would designate a tetramer of the composition indicated. The current nomenclature is recognized by the Human Genome Project (HUGO) and the Web site provides a link to genomic information including chromosomal localization, gene boundaries, human ESTs and SNPs and much more.