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Microcirculation. 2001 Jun;8(3):153-68.

Tetraspanins and intercellular interactions.

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Servicio de Inmunología, Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.


The superfamily of tetraspanins comprises a group of polypeptides with four transmembrane domains that form large supramolecular structures in the plasma membrane through their associations to multiple integral membrane proteins. They are involved in homo- and heterotypic intercellular interactions in different processes such as hematopoiesis, lymphocyte activation, cancer metastasis, and fertilization. Intercellularly located tetraspanins regulate the juxtacrine activity of growth factors, cell fusion, and myelin formation. On the other hand, in motile cells they relocalize from cell-cell junctions to actin-based structures such as filopodia or growth cones and regulate cell motility in wound healing and angiogenesis processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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