ALR is a mystic protein. It has a so called "long" 22 kDa and a "short" 15 kDa forms. It has been described after partial hepatectomy and it has just been considered as a key protein of liver regeneration. At the beginning of the 21st century it has been revealed that the "long" form is localized in the mitochondrial intermembrane space and it is an element of the mitochondrial protein import and disulphide relay system. Several proteins of the substrates of the mitochondrial disulphide relay system are necessary for the proper function of the mitochondria, thus any mutation of the ALR gene leads to mitochondrial diseases. The "short" form of ALR functions as a secreted extracellular growth factor and it promotes the protection, regeneration and proliferation of hepatocytes. The results gained on the recently generated conditional ALR mutant mice suggest that ALR can play an important role in the pathogenesis of alcoholic and non-Alcoholic steatosis. Since the serum level of ALR is modified in several liver diseases it can be a promising marker molecule in laboratory diagnostics.
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