Targeting of tetraspanin proteins--potential benefits and strategies

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2008 Sep;7(9):747-58. doi: 10.1038/nrd2659.


The tetraspanin transmembrane proteins have emerged as key players in malignancy, the immune system, during fertilization and infectious disease processes. Tetraspanins engage in a wide range of specific molecular interactions, occurring through the formation of tetraspanin-enriched microdomains (TEMs). TEMs therefore serve as a starting point for understanding how tetraspanins affect cell signalling, adhesion, morphology, motility, fusion and virus infection. An abundance of recent evidence suggests that targeting tetraspanins, for example, by monoclonal antibodies, soluble large-loop proteins or RNAi technology, should be therapeutically beneficial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / drug effects*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteins / pharmacology
  • RNA Interference
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Proteins