Tetraspanin functions and associated microdomains

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Oct;6(10):801-11. doi: 10.1038/nrm1736.


Cell-surface proteins of the tetraspanin family are small, and often hidden by a canopy of tall glycoprotein neighbours in the cell membrane. Consequently, tetraspanins have been understudied and underappreciated, despite their presence on nearly all cell and tissue types. Important new genetic evidence has now emerged, and is bolstered by new insights into the cell biology, signalling and biochemistry of tetraspanins. These new findings provide a framework for better understanding of these mysterious molecules in the regulation of cellular processes, from signalling to motility.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Microdomains / genetics
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Membrane Glycoproteins