Diverse biological functions of the SPARC family of proteins

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2012 Mar;44(3):480-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2011.12.021. Epub 2012 Jan 9.


The SPARC family of proteins represents a diverse group of proteins that modulate cell interaction with the extracellular milieu. The eight members of the SPARC protein family are modular in nature. Each shares a follistatin-like domain and an extracellular calcium binding E-F hand motif. In addition, each family member is secreted into the extracellular space. Some of the shared activities of this family include, regulation of extracellular matrix assembly and deposition, counter-adhesion, effects on extracellular protease activity, and modulation of growth factor/cytokine signaling pathways. Recently, several SPARC family members have been implicated in human disease pathogenesis. This review discusses recent advances in the understanding of the functional roles of the SPARC family of proteins in development and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • EF Hand Motifs / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Follistatin / genetics
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Osteonectin / genetics
  • Osteonectin / metabolism*
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Multimerization


  • Cytokines
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Follistatin
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Osteonectin