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Basic science for the chest physician
Protease-mediated ectodomain shedding
  1. Peter Clark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peter Clark, Leukocyte Biology Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK; p.clark{at}


Ectodomain shedding is the proteolytic cleavage of cell surface proteins resulting in the loss of the extracellular domains. This mechanism is important in a variety of normal and pathological processes, including growth factor signalling, cell adhesion, inflammation and cell survival. Elevated protease activity in the lungs is a key pathological mechanism in emphysema which could enhance ectodomain shedding in lung cells. Here, the major steps and consequences of ectodomain shedding are reviewed.

  • sheddase
  • matrix metalloproteinase
  • ADAMs
  • secretase
  • emphysema

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