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Insect Mol Biol. 2000 Dec;9(6):581-90.

The tetraspanin superfamily in insects.

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Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


We describe four members of the tetraspanin/TM4SF superfamily of proteins that were identified in expressed sequence tag projects on the antennae of Manduca sexta moths and Apis mellifera honey bees. The three moth genes are expressed in the sensillar epithelium of male antennae, and some are expressed in female antennae, haemocytes, wing scale cell primordia and/or embryonic tissues. These proteins are probably involved in diverse cellular processes, much like their vertebrate homologues. A phylogenetic analysis of all known tetraspanins, including thirty-seven members of the superfamily revealed by the Drosophila melanogaster genome and twenty in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans genome, reveals some phylum-specific gene amplification, in particular a contiguous array of eighteen genes in the D. melanogaster genome.

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