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An ectodomain is the domain of a membrane protein that extends into the extracellular space (the space outside a cell). Ectodomains are usually the parts of proteins that initiate contact with surfaces, which leads to signal transduction. In SARS-CoV the ectodomain of the spike protein is responsible for attachment to and entry into cells during infection.[1]

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  1. ^ Li, X; Pérez, L; Pan, Z; Fan, H (2007). "The transmembrane domain of TACE regulates protein ectodomain shedding". Cell Research 17 (12): 985–98. doi:10.1038/cr.2007.98. PMID 18040288.