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Tetraspanin proteins as organisers of membrane microdomains and signalling complexes

AuthorsYunta, M.; Lazo, Pedro A.
Issue Date2003
CitationCell. Signal. 15 (2003) 559–564
AbstractTetraspanins are a group of hydrophobic proteins with four transmembrane domains and two extracellular loops, both with conserved residues. Some tetraspanins are cell specific and others are very ubiquitous. Tetraspanins interact with very different types of proteins such as integrins, membrane receptors, as well as intracellular signalling molecules. Tetraspanins can interact with other tetraspanins to form a larger complex, whose core is formed by six tetraspanins, surrounded several tetraspanin-associated proteins. These complexes can further aggregate and behave as a membrane microdomain. The great heterogeneity in their composition and the dynamics of tetraspanin complexes confers great flexibility on these proteins to participate in many different biological roles.
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