The Integrin α4β1 and Its Counter Receptor VCAM-1 in Development and Immune Function

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The integrin α4β1 and its counter receptor vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) mediate well-described cell-cell interactions that are critical for immune function. However, these receptors also mediate cell-cell interactions that are important for skeletal muscle differentiation. We have found that contrasting transcriptional mechanisms control their patterns of expression in the immune system and in muscle. Recent studies indicate that α4β1 and VCAM-1 are also expressed in a number of developing tissues, implying that these receptors have a general role in facilitating cell-cell interactions during development.

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