Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-converting enzyme (TACE/ADAM17) is a membrane protein belonging to the ADAM (a disintegrin and a metalloprotease) family able to cleave various membrane proteins, including the transmembrane form of TNF-alpha at its physiological processing site. Being an ADAM, TACE may mediate not only proteolysis but also adhesive interactions; however, the role of the disintegrin domain of TACE has not been studied. In the central nervous system (CNS), little is known about the physiological role of TACE, but some important pathophysiological functions have been reported recently, with both neurotoxic and neuroprotective repercussions. This article discusses and reviews the main contributions to this field of investigation addressing the expression and function of TACE in the CNS.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel