An anonymous reader writes: Your cells are social butterflies. They constantly interact with their surroundings, taking in cues on when to divide and where to anchor themselves, among other critical tasks. This networking is driven in part by proteins called integrin, which reside in a cell’s outer plasma membrane. Their job is to convert mechanical forces from outside the cell into internal chemical signals that tell the cell what to do. That is, when they work properly. When they misfire, integrins can cause diseases such as atherosclerosis and several types of cancer.
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