αI domain integrins have been found in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. We produced Ciona α1I domain as a recombinant protein. It did not recognize fibril-forming collagens or bind to GFOGER or other similar motifs in triple-helical peptides. No GFOGER motifs were found in Ciona collagens. As Ciona α1I bound to collagen IX, we propose that before the emergence of GFOGER-dependent collagen receptors in vertebrates, αI domain integrins might have been able to bind to collagen with alternative mechanisms. © 2007 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
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