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October 1, 2012 / May K.

Lipoate-Protein Ligase A (LplA)

Protein Data Bank ID: 2AAI
Protein Name: Lipoate-Protein Ligase A
Organism: Escherichia coli

Recently two students who used to work in our lab asked me to draw a special protein. Lipoate-protein ligase A (LplA) is an enzyme which catalyzes the attachment of lipoic acid to specific enzymes. This allows lipoic acid to act as a coenzyme primarily in oxidative decarboxylation reactions. Recently, this ability of LplA was used to label proteins with fluorescent tags [*].
And here are the outcomes:

“A Pashtun Man”


Instead of boring you with more information about the protein I decided to write a little bit about Pashtuns. They are an Iranian ethnic group which primarily can be found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pashtuns speak Pashto which belogs to the group of Eastern Iranian languages. One of their distinctive features is a very complicated system of tribes and clans. One example of Pashtun traditional garments is the so-called Pakul [*], a hat which you can see on the head of the drawn man.

One possible memory aid could go as follows: Like the Pakul helps to identify a Pashtun, LplA can help to identify proteins by labeling them.

Just turn the protein image through 180° and you will see a completely different motif which has absolutely no connection to the previous one.

“Sick Rat Dreaming of a Piece of Tart”


Here the fatty tart might remind us of the fact that LplA is involved in the attachment of lipoic acid which in its turn is involved in the lipid metabolism.

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