Biophysics of Selectin-Ligand interactions in inflammation and cancer

Luthur Siu Lun Cheung, Phrabha S. Raman, Eric M. Balzer, Denis Wirtz, Konstantinos Konstantopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Selectins (L-, E- and P-selectin) are calcium-dependent transmembrane glycoproteins that are expressed on the surface of circulating leukocytes, activated platelets, and inflamed endothelial cells. Selectins bind predominantly to sialofucosylated glycoproteins and glycolipids (E-selectin only) present on the surface of apposing cells, and mediate transient adhesive interactions pertinent to inflammation and cancer metastasis. The rapid turnover of selectin-ligand bonds, due to their fast on- and off-rates along with their remarkably high tensile strengths, enables them to mediate cell tethering and rolling in shear flow. This paper presents the current body of knowledge regarding the role of selectins in inflammation and cancer metastasis, and discusses experimental methodologies and mathematical models used to resolve the biophysics of selectin-mediated cell adhesion. Understanding the biochemistry and biomechanics of selectin-ligand interactions pertinent to inflammatory disorders and cancer metastasis may provide insights for developing promising therapies and/or diagnostic tools to combat these disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015013
JournalPhysical biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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