Repurposing a pore: highly conserved perforin-like proteins with alternative mechanisms.
Ni T., Gilbert RJC.
Pore-forming proteins play critical roles in pathogenic attack and immunological defence. The membrane attack complex/perforin (MACPF) group of homologues represents, with cholesterol-dependent cytolysins, the largest family of such proteins. In this review, we begin by describing briefly the structure of MACPF proteins, outlining their common mechanism of pore formation. We subsequently discuss some examples of MACPF proteins likely implicated in pore formation or other membrane-remodelling processes. Finally, we focus on astrotactin and bone morphogenetic protein and retinoic acid-induced neural-specific proteins, highly conserved MACPF family members involved in developmental processes, which have not been well studied to date or observed to form a pore-and which data suggest may act by alternative mechanisms.This article is part of the themed issue 'Membrane pores: from structure and assembly, to medicine and technology'.