Sophisticated 'hook and loop fastener' of endothelial cells

Münster-based Max Planck Researchers decipher molecular gateway in inflammation

March 05, 2014

One heedless moment, a stabbing pain - and you've got a rusty nail in your finger. Now your immune system must rush to respond. As fast as possible, immune cells and signaling molecules have to leave the vascular system and migrate into the injured tissue. This is achieved through 'hook and loop fasteners' between endothelial cells of blood vessels. So far, the molecular mechanisms of these fasteners were only investigated in culture, but the mechanisms that open these fasteners remained unknown. A team of scientists of Professor Dr. Dietmar Vestweber of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster has now discovered that immune cells and signaling molecules can open the gate between endothelial cells by using two different molecular modifications of the endothelial cell protein 'VE-Cadherin' (Nature Immunology 5(3), March 2014).

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