Tetraspan proteins: Regulators of renal structure and function

Michael J. Caplan, Erik Jan Kamsteeg, Amy Duffield

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Members of the tetraspan family are widely expressed and poorly understood. An emerging literature suggests that through their interactions with other membrane proteins they play central or regulatory roles in a wide variety of physiological processes. This review will discuss selected tetraspan complexes and highlight their relevance to epithelial cells and the kidney. RECENT FINDINGS: Tetraspans regulate the signaling and trafficking properties of their partner proteins. Tetraspan complexes with integrin molecules, for example, modulate cell adhesion and mobility. Perturbations of tetraspan-integrin assemblies can have dramatic impacts on renal tissue morphogenesis, resulting in a disruption of normal glomerular architecture and selectivity. Tetraspan interactions with renal ion transport proteins appear to affect transporter function by enhancing or inhibiting the endocytic internalization of their transport protein partners. SUMMARY: Tetraspans constitute a novel class of proteins whose capacity to alter the cell biological and functional properties of their membrane protein partners is likely to have wide ranging and important physiological ramifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-358
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in nephrology and hypertension
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Integrin
  • Interaction
  • Ion transport protein
  • Tetraspan
  • Trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology


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