Intercellular transfer of cell-surface proteins is common and can affect many stages of an immune response

Nat Rev Immunol. 2007 Mar;7(3):238-43. doi: 10.1038/nri2020. Epub 2007 Feb 9.


Cells can extend the limits of their transcriptome by using proteins captured from other cells. Through an exchange of specific proteins, tools and information can be shared to establish integrated communities of cells that are better able to coordinate stages of an immune response. Transferred proteins can also contribute to pathology by allowing, for example, infection of cell types not otherwise infected. Here, I present the case for considering the intercellular transfer of cell-surface proteins between immune cells as commonplace and important.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active / genetics
  • Biological Transport, Active / immunology
  • Cell Communication / genetics
  • Cell Communication / immunology*
  • Extracellular Space / genetics
  • Extracellular Space / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity* / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*


  • Membrane Proteins