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Selectins are a family of cell adhesion molecules (or CAM's). All selectins are single-chain transmembrane glycoproteins which share similar properties to C-type lectins due to a related amino terminus and calcium-dependent binding[1].


There are three subsets of selectins:


The name selectin comes from the words "selected" and "lectins" which are a type of carbohydrate recognizing proteins.


During an inflammatory response stimuli such as histamine and thrombin cause endothelial cells to mobilize P-selectin from stores inside the cell to the cell surface. In addition, cytokines such as TNF-alpha stimulate the expression of E-selectin and additional P-selectin a few hours later.

As the leukocyte rolls along the blood vessel wall, the distal lectin-like domain of the selectin binds to certain carbohydrate groups presented on proteins (such as PSGL-1) on the leukocyte, which slows the cell and allows it to leave the blood vessel and enter the site of infection. The low-affinity nature of selectins is what allows the characteristic "rolling" action attributed to leukocytes during the leukocyte adhesion cascade[1].

The best-characterized ligand for the three selectins is P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (PSGL-1), which is a mucin-type glycoprotein expressed on all white blood cells.

Neutrophils and eosinophils bind to E-selectin. One of the reported ligands for E-selectin is the sialylated Lewis X Ag (sLe(x)). Eosinophils, like neutrophils, use sialylated, protease-resistant structures to bind to E-selectin, although the eosinophil expresses much lower levels of these structures on its surface. [2] Ligands for P-selectin on eosinophils and neutrophils are similar sialylated, protease-sensitive, endo-beta-galactosidase-resistant structures, clearly different than those reported for E-selectin, and suggest disparate roles for P-selectin and E-selectin during recruitment during inflammatory responses. [3]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Cotran. Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease. Philadelphia: W.B Saunders Company. 0-7216-7335-X. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  2. Bochner BS, Sterbinsky SA, Bickel CA, Werfel S, Wein M, Newman W. (Jan 15, 1994). "Differences between human eosinophils and neutrophils in the function and expression of sialic acid-containing counterligands for E-selectin". J Immunol. 152 (2): 774–82. PMID 7506734. Unknown parameter | ignored (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. Wein, M (1995). "Comparison of human eosinophil and neutrophil ligands for P-selectin: ligands for P-selectin differ from those for E-selectin". Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 12 (3): 315–9. Check date values in: |date= (help)


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