Transgelin: An Actin-Binding Protein and Tumour Suppressor

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Mar;41(3):482-6. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2008.02.011. Epub 2008 Mar 10.


Transgelin is a shape change sensitive 22 kDa actin-binding protein of the calponin family. It contains a C-terminal calponin-like module (CLIK(23)) and an upstream positively charged amino acid region required for actin binding. Transgelin is ubiquitous to vascular and visceral smooth muscle and is an early marker of smooth muscle differentiation, where its expression is driven by CArG box, smooth muscle gene promoter. It is also present in fibroblasts, and some epithelium where expression is likely driven by TGF-beta1. Transgelin null mice reveal that, whilst it is not required for smooth muscle development, transgelin may be involved in calcium-independent smooth muscle contraction. Recent evidence suggests that transgelin acts as a tumour suppressor. Its expression is lost in prostate, breast and colon cancers. This is consistent with suppression of the metallo matrix protease-9 (MMP-9) by transgelin, where MMP-9 is upregulated in these common cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microfilament Proteins / chemistry
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle Proteins / chemistry
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / physiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*


  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • transgelin
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9