The protein encoded by this gene is the predominant constituent of the crystalline core of the eosinophil granule. High levels of the proform of this protein are also present in placenta and pregnancy serum, where it exists as a complex with several other proteins including pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPPA), angiotensinogen (AGT), and C3dg. This protein may be involved in antiparasitic defense mechanisms as a cytotoxin and helminthotoxin, and in immune hypersensitivity reactions. It is directly implicated in epithelial cell damage, exfoliation, and bronchospasm in allergic diseases.
Structurally the major basic protein (MBP) is similar to lectins (sugar-binding proteins), and has a fold similar to that seen in C-type lectins. However, unlike other C-type lectins (those that bind various carbohydrates in the presence of calcium), MBP does not bind either calcium or any of the other carbohydrates that this family recognize.
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