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J Leukoc Biol. 2006 Jun;79(6):1105-16. Epub 2006 Mar 24.

Emerging roles for ectodomain shedding in the regulation of inflammatory responses.

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Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104-2499, USA.


The multistep model of leukocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation has helped elucidate specific molecular cues for each of the individual steps. However, it is less clear how cells transition between the different steps and how the complex interactions are coordinately regulated. Once a leukocyte sticks to the endothelium, it only takes a few minutes to reach the subendothelial basement membrane, so the transitions and regulatory mechanisms must be rapid. We put forward the hypothesis that proteolytic shedding of cell surface proteins provides a mechanism to aid in the rapid transition of cells and coordinate the complex, multistep process of leukocyte recruitment in response to inflammatory stimuli. Support for this hypothesis is provided from analyses of disease states and from studies with protease inhibitors and genetically engineered mutations that prevent "ectodomain shedding" of cell surface proteins and consequently perturb the inflammatory response.

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