S100 proteins: structure, functions and pathology

Front Biosci. 2002 May 1;7:d1356-68. doi: 10.2741/A846.


S100 proteins regulate intracellular processes such as cell growth and motility, cell cycle regulation, transcription and differentiation. Twenty members have been identified so far, and altogether, S100 proteins represent the largest subgroup in the EF-hand Ca2+ -binding protein family. A unique feature of these proteins is that individual members are localized in specific cellular compartments from which some are able to relocate upon Ca2+ activation, transducing the Ca2+ signal in a temporal and spacial manner by interacting with different targets specific for each S100 protein. Some members are even secreted from cells exerting extracellular, cytokine-like activities partially via the surface receptor RAGE (receptor for advanced glycation endproducts) with paracrine effects e.g. on neurons, promoting their survival during development or after injury. Another important aspect is that 14 bona fide S100 genes are found in a gene cluster on human chromosome 1q21 where a number of chromosomal abnormalities occur. This results in a deregulated expression of some S100 genes associated with neoplasias. Recently, S100 proteins have received increasing attention due to their close association with several human diseases including cardiomyopathy, neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. They have also been proven to be valuable in the diagnostic of these diseases, as predictive markers of improving clinical management, outcome and survival of patients and are considered having a potential as drug targets to improve therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cardiomyopathies / metabolism*
  • Cardiomyopathies / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Down Syndrome / metabolism
  • Down Syndrome / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Psoriasis / metabolism
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • S100 Proteins / analysis*
  • S100 Proteins / genetics
  • S100 Proteins / physiology


  • Biomarkers
  • S100 Proteins