Identification of a new multigene four-transmembrane family (MS4A) related to CD20, HTm4 and beta subunit of the high-affinity IgE receptor

Gene. 2001 Feb 7;264(1):87-93. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(00)00598-9.


We report here the cloning of eight new cDNAs that encode a family of proteins related to the B-cell-specific antigen CD20, a hematopoietic-cell-specific protein HTm4, and high affinity IgE receptor beta chain (FcvarepsilonRIbeta). They include four clones from human, and another four clones from mouse. They share similar structure (four transmembrane domains) with amino acid identities of 25-40%. Therefore, they represent distinct genes and comprise a gene superfamily. This superfamily is now named membrane-spanning four-domains, subfamily A (the approved symbol is MS4A) to distinguish them from tetraspanins with similar structure. The highest homologies among these proteins are found in the transmembrane domains, especially in the first and second transmembrane domains, and conserved residues are also recognized in the inter-transmembrane domains. In northern blot, they were mostly expressed in lymphoid tissues: thymus and spleen. However, some were expressed in nonlymphoid tissues including brain, heart, kidney, liver, testis, lung, GI tracts, and pancreas. They may represent proteins functioning either directly as ligand-gated ion channels or as essential components of such channels. The identification of this relatively large gene family in various tissues will allow the further elucidation of physiological significance of this gene family, that is currently unclear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD20 / genetics
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cell Cycle Proteins*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Complementary / chemistry
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Receptors, IgE / genetics
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Antigens, CD20
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA, Complementary
  • MS4A3 protein, human
  • MS4A4A protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, IgE
  • RNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB013102
  • GENBANK/AB013103
  • GENBANK/AB013104
  • GENBANK/AB026043
  • GENBANK/AB026044
  • GENBANK/AB026045
  • GENBANK/AB026046
  • GENBANK/AB026047