Alpha A and alpha B-crystallins are a major protein component of the mammalian eye lens. Being a member of the small heat-shock protein family they possess chaperone-like function. The alpha-crystallins and especially alpha B is also found outside the lens having an extensive tissue distribution. Alpha B-crystallin is found to be over-expressed in many neurological diseases, and mutations in alpha A or B-crystallin can cause cataract and myopathy. This review deals with some of the unique properties of the alpha-crystallins emphasizing especially what we don't know about its function and structure.
Copyright 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd.