RTKs play a key role in the communication of cells with their microenvironment. These molecules are involved in the regulation of cell growth, differentiation, and metabolism. In several cases the biochemical mechanism by which RTKs transduce signals across the membrane has been shown to be ligand induced receptor oligomerization and subsequent intracellular phosphorylation. In the case of DDR2, the ligand is collagen which binds to its extracellular discoidin domain. This autophosphorylation leads to phosphorylation of cytosolic targets as well as association with other molecules, which are involved in pleiotropic effects of signal transduction. DDR2 has been associated with a number of diseases including fibrosis and cancer.
RTKs have a tripartite structure with extracellular, transmembrane, and cytoplasmic regions. This gene encodes a member of a novel subclass of RTKs and contains a distinct extracellular region encompassing a factor VIII-like domain.
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