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Int J Med Microbiol. 2008 Oct;298(7-8):553-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2008.04.005. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

CEACAM3: an innate immune receptor directed against human-restricted bacterial pathogens.

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  • 1Lehrstuhl Zellbiologie, Fachbereich Biologie X908, Universit√§t Konstanz, Universit√§tsstrasse 10, 78457 Konstanz, Germany.


Carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 3 (CEACAM3) is an immunoglobulin-related glycoprotein exclusively expressed on granulocytes. In contrast to other members of the CEACAM family, CEACAM3 does not support cell-cell adhesion, but rather mediates the opsonin-independent recognition and elimination of a restricted set of human-specific Gram-negative bacterial pathogens including Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis. Within the last 4 years, molecular determinants of CEACAM3 function and CEACAM3-initiated signaling pathways have been elucidated. Sequence comparison between CEACAM3 and other CEACAM family members points to a chimeric origin of this receptor with the bacteria-binding extracellular domain and the function-promoting intracellular domain derived from different genes. This review summarizes the current knowledge about the structure-function relationship of CEACAM3 and tries to combine these molecular aspects with a plausible scenario concerning the evolutionary origin of this phagocyte receptor in the light of host-pathogen adaptation.

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