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Cell. 2002 Sep 6;110(5):587-97.

A structural mechanism of integrin alpha(IIb)beta(3) "inside-out" activation as regulated by its cytoplasmic face.

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Structural Biology Program, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


Activation of the ligand binding function of integrin heterodimers requires transmission of an "inside-out" signal from their small intracellular segments to their large extracellular domains. The structure of the cytoplasmic domain of a prototypic integrin alpha(IIb)beta(3) has been solved by NMR and reveals multiple hydrophobic and electrostatic contacts within the membrane-proximal helices of its alpha and the beta cytoplasmic tails. The interface interactions are disrupted by point mutations or the cytoskeletal protein talin that are known to activate the receptor. These results provide a structural mechanism by which a handshake between the alpha and the beta cytoplasmic tails restrains the integrin in a resting state and unclasping of this interaction triggers the inside-out conformational signal that leads to receptor activation.

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