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These proteins have a characteristic 4 membrane-spanning domain and constitute a large protein superfamily (Maecker et al, 1997; Wright and Tomlinson, 1994; Rubinstein, 2011). In addition, tetraspanins have short, cytosolic N-termini and C-termini and one small (EC1) and one large (EC2) extracellular loop. EC2 comprises 78 to 150 amino acids and contains 4 conserved cysteine residues (Boucheix C, Rubinstein, 2001).

Tetraspanins form clusters within the cell membrane. They aggregate withone another and also complex with a variety of other transmembrane proteins, in particular integrins. These clusters are known as the tetraspanin web or tetraspanin-enriched microdomains. Tetraspanins have been involved in the regulation of integrin-dependent cell migration, metastasis, and cell polarization, proliferation, and differentiation ... ... ... ... ... Subscribe to continue reading! ... ...


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