The selectins: vascular adhesion molecules.
The selectin family of adhesion molecules mediates the initial attachment of leukocytes to venular endothelial cells before their firm adhesion and diapedesis at sites of tissue injury and inflammation. The selectin family consists of three closely related cell-surface molecules with differential expression by leukocytes (L-selectin), platelets (P-selectin), and vascular endothelium (E- and P-selectin). The selectins have characteristic extracellular regions composed of an amino-terminal lectin domain that binds a carbohydrate ligand, an epidermal growth factor-like domain, and two to nine short repeat units homologous to domains found in complement binding proteins. In contrast to most other adhesion molecules, selectin function is restricted to leukocyte interactions with vascular endothelium. Multiple studies indicate that the selectins mediate neutrophil, monocyte, and lymphocyte rolling along the venular wall. The generation of selectin-deficient mice has confirmed these findings and provided further insight into how the overlapping functions of these receptors regulate inflammatory processes. Selectin-directed therapeutic agents are now proven to be effective in blocking many of the pathological effects resulting from leukocyte entry into sites of inflammation. Future studies are focused on how the selectins interact with the increasing array of other adhesion molecules and inflammatory mediators.
Tedder, TF; Steeber, DA; Chen, A; Engel, P
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