Thy-1 or CD90 is a glycophosphatidylinositol-linked glycoprotein expressed on the surface of neurons, thymocytes, subsets of fibroblasts, endothelial cells, mesangial cells and some hematopoietic cells. Thy-1 is evolutionarily conserved, developmentally regulated, and often has dramatic effects on cell phenotype; however, the effects vary between and in some cases within cell types and tissues, and between similar tissues in different species, indicating that the biological role of Thy-1 is context-dependent. Thy-1 exists in soluble form in some body fluids; however, the mechanisms of its shedding are unknown. In addition, Thy-1 expression can be regulated by epigenetic silencing. Because Thy-1 modulates many basic cellular processes and is involved in the pathogenesis of a number of diseases, it is important to better understand its regulation.
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