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Trends Biochem Sci. 2002 Mar;27(3):122-6.

Protein recognition by cell surface receptors: physiological receptors versus virus interactions.

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Dept Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Room SM-1036B, 44 Binney St, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Protein-protein recognition is a major kind of receptor-ligand interaction: a living cell receives external signals to adapt to the environment through cell surface receptors. On opposing cell surfaces, such recognition bears distinct features: it is a multivalent, reversible and avidity-driven process. The affinity between each individual contacting pair is low. Viruses might take advantage of this low affinity to invade a host cell by evolving a stronger binding affinity to the surface receptors than that associated with physiological ligands. Structural data appear to support this notion.

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