Lysyl Oxidases: Functions and Disorders

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Lysyl oxidases (LOX) are copper-dependent enzymes that oxidize lysyl and hydroxylysyl residues in collagen and elastin, as a first step in the stabilization of these extracellular matrix proteins through the formation of covalent cross-linkages, an essential process for connective tissue maturation. Five different LOX enzymes have been identified in mammals, LOX and LOX-like (LOXL) 1 to 4, being genetically different protein products with a high degree of homology in the catalytic carboxy terminal end and a more variable amino terminal proregion. Intensive investigation in the last years has delineated the main biological functions of these enzymes and their involvement in several pathologies including fibrosis, cancer, and ocular disorders. This review article summarizes the major findings on the role of LOX isoforms, with particular focus on their contribution to the development and progression of human disorders.

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