The versatile roles of testrapanins in cancer from intracellular signaling to cell-cell communication : cell membrane proteins without ligands

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number59
Journal / PublicationCell & Bioscience
Online published20 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023



The tetraspanins (TSPANs) are a family of four-transmembrane proteins with 33 members in mammals. They are variably expressed on the cell surface, various intracellular organelles and vesicles in nearly all cell types. Different from the majority of cell membrane proteins, TSPANs do not have natural ligands. TSPANs typically organize laterally with other membrane proteins to form tetraspanin-enriched microdomains (TEMs) to influence cell adhesion, migration, invasion, survival and induce downstream signaling. Emerging evidence shows that TSPANs can regulate not only cancer cell growth, metastasis, stemness, drug resistance, but also biogenesis of extracellular vesicles (exosomes and migrasomes), and immunomicroenvironment. This review summarizes recent studies that have shown the versatile function of TSPANs in cancer development and progression, or the molecular mechanism of TSPANs. These findings support the potential of TSPANs as novel therapeutic targets against cancer. © The Author(s) 2023

Research Area(s)

  • Tetraspanin, Cancer, Metastasis, Extracellular vesicles, Immunonology

Bibliographic Note

© 2023. The Author(s).

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