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So Many Plasminogen Receptors: Why?

Edward F. Plow, Loic Doeuvre, Riku Das

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Plasminogen and plasmin tether to cell surfaces through ubiquitously expressed and structurally quite dissimilar family of proteins, as well as some nonproteins, that are collectively referred to as plasminogen receptors. Of the more than one dozen plasminogen receptors that have been identified, many have been shown to facilitate plasminogen activation to plasmin and to protect bound plasmin from inactivation by inhibitors. The generation of such localized and sustained protease activity is utilized to facilitate numerous cellular responses, including responses that depend on cellular migration. However, many cells express multiple plasminogen receptors and numerous plasminogen receptors are expressed on many different cell types. Furthermore, several different plasminogen receptors can be used to support the same cellular response, such as inflammatory cell migration. Here, we discuss the perplexing issue: why are there so many different Plg-Rs?