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Activation of signaling receptors: do ligands bind to receptor monomer, dimer, or both?

Xiaodong Pang and Huan-Xiang Zhou*

Author Affiliations

Department of Physics and Institute of Molecular Biophysics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA

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BMC Biophysics 2013, 6:7  doi:10.1186/2046-1682-6-7

Published: 3 June 2013


A recent study by Dietz et al. using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy techniques demonstrates that, in the absence of the ligand InlB, the MET receptor exists as both a monomer and a dimer on the cell membrane, and addition of the ligand leads to increased MET dimerization. Under the crowded conditions of the cell membrane, dimer formation may be a common phenomenon for cell surface receptors. Ligand binding to both monomeric and dimeric receptors may provide parallel routes to receptor activation.