Vitamin K is involved in the carboxylation of certain glutamate residues in proteins to form gamma-carboxyglutamate residues (abbreviated Gla-residues). The modified residues are often (but not always) situated within specific protein domains called Gla domains. Gla-residues are usually involved in binding calcium. The Gla-residues are essential for the biological activity of all known Gla-proteins.
14 human proteins with Gla domains have been discovered, and they play key roles in the regulation of three physiological processes:
- Blood coagulation: (prothrombin (factor II), factors VII, IX, X, protein C, protein S, and protein Z).
- Bone metabolism: osteocalcin, also called bone Gla-protein (BGP), and matrix gla protein (MGP).
- Vascular biology.
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