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Immunity. 2003 Sep;19(3):391-402.

Small molecule integrin antagonists that bind to the beta2 subunit I-like domain and activate signals in one direction and block them in the other.

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The CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Leukocyte integrins contain an inserted (I) domain in their alpha subunits and an I-like domain in their beta(2) subunit, which directly bind ligand and regulate ligand binding, respectively. We describe a novel mechanistic class of integrin inhibitors that bind to the metal ion-dependent adhesion site of the beta(2) I-like domain and prevent its interaction with and activation of the alpha(L) I domain. The inhibitors do not bind to the alpha(L) I domain but stabilize alpha/beta subunit association and can show selectivity for alpha(L)beta(2) compared to alpha(M)beta(2). The inhibitors reveal a crucial intersection for relaying conformational signals within integrin extracellular domains. While blocking signals in one direction to the I domain, the antagonists induce the active conformation of the I-like domain and stalk domains, and thus transmit conformational signals in the other direction toward the transmembrane domains.

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