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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2018 Aug;25(8):698-704. doi: 10.1038/s41594-018-0093-x. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Cryo-EM structure of the αvβ8 integrin reveals a mechanism for stabilizing integrin extension.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
2
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
3
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
4
Department of Pharmacology, Yale University, West Haven, CT, USA.
5
Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
6
Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
7
Department of Pathology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA. stephen.nishimura@ucsf.edu.
8
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA. yifan.cheng@ucsf.edu.
9
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA. yifan.cheng@ucsf.edu.

Abstract

Integrins are conformationally flexible cell surface receptors that survey the extracellular environment for their cognate ligands. Interactions with ligands are thought to be linked to global structural rearrangements involving transitions between bent, extended-closed and extended-open forms. Thus far, structural details are lacking for integrins in the extended conformations due to extensive flexibility between the headpiece and legs in this conformation. Here we present single-particle electron cryomicroscopy structures of human αvβ8 integrin in the extended-closed conformation, which has been considered to be a low-affinity intermediate. Our structures show the headpiece rotating about a flexible αv knee, suggesting a ligand surveillance mechanism for integrins in their extended-closed form. Our model predicts that the extended conformation is mainly stabilized by an interface formed between flexible loops in the upper and lower domains of the αv leg. Confirming these findings with the αvβ3 integrin suggests that our model of stabilizing the extended-closed conformation is generalizable to other integrins.

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