The whey protein, α-lactalbumin, has a key role in the biosynthesis of lactose and in the formation and secretion of the aqueous phase of milk. Mechanistically, α-lactalbumin interacts with β-1,4-galactosyltransferase-I to modify its specificity so that it can catalyze the transfer of galactose to glucose (lactose synthesis) rather than to glycoconjugates. α-Lactalbumin is a member of the type-c lysozyme superfamily. It has a 3D structure similar to those of the lysozymes that contains a tightly bound stabilizing calcium ion. Complexes of partially folded α-lactalbumin with lipids are cytotoxic to tumor cells but the specificity of this is uncertain.


Acceptor Substrate Molten Globule Lactate Mammary Gland Sperm Acrosome Mammary Gland Involution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author wishes to thank the many students and postdoctoral fellows who have previously contributed to studies of α-La and lactose synthase in his laboratory.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Science, Charles E. Schmidt College of MedicineFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA

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