This gene encodes alpha-lactalbumin, a principal protein of milk. Alpha-lactalbumin forms the regulatory subunit of the;lactose synthase (LS) heterodimer and beta 1,4-galactosyltransferase (beta4Gal-T1) forms the catalytic component.;Together, these proteins enable LS to produce lactose by transfering galactose moieties to glucose. As a monomer,;alpha-lactalbumin strongly binds calcium and zinc ions and may possess bactericidal or antitumor activity. A folding;variant of alpha-lactalbumin, called HAMLET, likely induces apoptosis in tumor and immature cells.