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Diverse cell types use a small number of evolutionarily conserved signaling modules to integrate external cues and elicit distinct functions. A question thus arises as to how does a receptor, which contains a single signaling module, produce distinct outcomes to diverse signals, particularly if such module is shared amongst a family of receptors? Emerging data suggest that many immunoreceptors, all of which use a conserved ITAM-module for their signaling, can couple with members of additional classes of membrane receptors to deliver unique signal(s) to the cell. We discuss the possible biological purposes and mechanisms behind these interactions at the plasma membrane. We offer a conceptual framework to understand information processing within the immune system and discuss the new biology of old receptors involving their structural and functional collaborations that evolved to deliver unique signal(s) to the cell using a limited set of conserved signaling modules.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.coi.2011.12.010

Type

Journal article

Journal

Current opinion in immunology

Publication Date

02/2012

Volume

24

Pages

58 - 66

Addresses

Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, United States. jelena.bezbradica@yale.edu

Keywords

Animals, Humans, Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Signal Transduction, Immunity, Innate, Receptors, Natural Killer Cell