TMPRSS4 is a type II transmembrane serine protease involved in cancer and viral infections

Biol Chem. 2012 Sep;393(9):907-14. doi: 10.1515/hsz-2012-0155.


Proteolytic enzymes are involved in almost all biological processes reflecting their importance in health and disease. The human genome contains nearly 600 protease-encoding genes forming more than 2% of the total human proteome. The serine proteases, with about 180 members, built the oldest and second largest family of human proteases. Ten years ago, a novel serine protease family named the type II transmembrane family (TTSP) was identified. This minireview summarizes the up-to-date knowledge about the still growing TTSPs, particularly focusing on the pathophysiological functions of the family member type II transmembrane serine protease (TMPRSS) 4. Recent studies provided important data on TMPRSS4 activity associated with the spreading of influenza viruses, mediated by the cleavage of hemagglutinin. Progression and metastatic potential of several cancers is concordant with an increased expression of TMPRSS4, though being a possible diagnostic marker. However, to benefit from TMPRSS4 as a therapeutic target, more data concerning its physiological relevance are needed, as done by a specific morpholino knockdown in zebrafish embryos.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Virus Diseases / enzymology*
  • Virus Diseases / pathology


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • TMPRSS4 protein, human
  • Tmprss4 protein, mouse