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J Neurochem. 1999 Dec;73(6):2600-8.

A novel rat tetraspan protein in cells of the oligodendrocyte lineage.

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Department of Preclinical Veterinary Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.


The tetraspanin/transmembrane 4 superfamily gene superfamily encodes proteins that span the plasma membrane four times. Tetraspan proteins are implicated in proliferation, motility, and differentiation in various cell types, and in some cells they may link plasma membrane proteins into signalling complexes. Using a subtractive cDNA library prepared from oligodendrocytes and their progenitor cells, we have identified Tspan-2 as a member of this superfamily. In situ hybridization analysis revealed robust expression in cells of the oligodendrocyte lineage in comparison with the Plp gene, a well-characterized marker for myelin-forming glia in the CNS. Rat Tspan-2 mRNA is restricted to the nervous system and is detectable by northern blot shortly after birth in the CNS. Subsequently the gene is up-regulated strongly between postnatal day 3 and 10, and expression levels continue to rise up to postnatal day 22. These data indicate that Tspan-2 is likely to play a role in signalling in oligodendrocytes in the early stages of their terminal differentiation into myelin-forming glia and may also function in stabilizing the mature sheath.

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