Lysyl oxidase (LOX) catalyzes the lysine-derived cross-links of fibrillar collagens and elastin in the extracellular matrix. Recent molecular cloning has revealed existence of a LOX family consisting of LOX and four lysyl oxidase-like proteins (LOXL, LOXL2, LOXL3 and LOXL4). Pathological conditions associated with impaired LOX activity in several heritable and acquired disorders lead to severe structural and functional abnormalities of cardiovascular tissues, such as occlusion of coronary arteries and aneurysms, suggesting an essential role for the LOX family proteins in the maintenance of the cardiovascular system. However, the specific roles of the lysyl oxidase-like proteins in normal and pathological conditions of the cardiovascular tissues have not been established yet. Here, I report that LOXL3, a novel member of the LOX family, is predominantly expressed in the aorta, with an amine oxidase activity toward collagen and elastin, suggesting an essential role of LOXL3 in the development and maintenance of the aorta.
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