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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2006;587:23-40.

The CCN3 protein and cancer.

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Laboratoire d'Oncologie Virale et Moléculaire, UFR de Biochimie, Université Paris 7 D. Diderot, Case 7048 - 2 Place Jussieu - 75,005 Paris, France.


A new family of cell growth and differentiation regulators has emerged in the past decade. These signaling proteins grouped under the CCN acronym, participate to fundamental biological functions, during normal development and in adulthood, from birth to death. Disregulation of their expression has been associated to tumorigenesis. Even though part of their physiological properties may be related to their capacity to bind several integrins, the CCN protein also interact with several other receptors and ligands that play critical roles in the regulation of cell signaling and communication. The multimodular structure of the CCN proteins provides the ground for the myriad of roles in which they participate, but it remains a challenge to those who wish to decipher the structure-function relationship that govern their multifunctional properties. The recent discovery of CCN variants whose expression is associated to the development of cancer raises fascinating questions regarding their role in the establishment and maintenance of the tumor state. Identifying the pathways in which the CCN proteins act and establishing the role of these proteins in intercellular communication will constitute new promising avenues among the trends for 21st century in cancer research.

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