Alpha(v) beta(6) integrin (αvβ6)
Integrins are heterodimeric trans-membrane receptors comprising alpha and beta subunits that function both as cell anchoring and signaling molecules. There are 18 alpha and 8 beta subunits, each of which can bind to several partners giving rise to at least 24 distinct integrin heterodimers with different functions and ligand binding activities. The integrin αvβ6 is unique in that it is expressed exclusively in epithelial cells, and β6 partners only with αv forming a single heterodimer. During embryogenesis αvβ6 is expressed at high levels in the developing lung, skin and kidney epithelia and its expression is downregulated in healthy adult epithelia. It is a well-established fact now that there is a wide prevalence of αvβ6-integrin expression in different kinds of cancer. The expression of αvβ6 is often associated with a poor prognosis. integrin αvβ6 is highly upregulated in carcinomas of the breast, lung, oral and skin squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), colon, stomach and endometrium among others.
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