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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.A notable example of an ectodomain is the S protein, commonly known as the spike protein, of the viral particle responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. The ectodomain region of the spike protein (S) is essential for attachment and eventual entry of the viral protein into the host cell.[1]

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  1. ^ Wrapp D, Wang N, Corbett KS, Goldsmith JA, Hsieh CL, Abiona O, et al. (March 2020). "Cryo-EM structure of the 2019-nCoV spike in the prefusion conformation". Science. 367 (6483): 1260–1263. doi:10.1126/science.abb2507. PMID 32075877.