The MS4A Family: Counting Past 1, 2 and 3

Immunol Cell Biol. 2016 Jan;94(1):11-23. doi: 10.1038/icb.2015.48. Epub 2015 Apr 3.


The MS4A (membrane-spanning 4-domain family, subfamily A) family of proteins contains some well-known members including MS4A1 (CD20), MS4A2 (FcɛRIβ) and MS4A3 (HTm4). These three MS4A family members are expressed on the cell surface of specific leukocyte subsets and have been well characterized as having key roles in regulating cell activation, growth and development. However, beyond MS4A1-3 there are a large number of related molecules (18 to date in humans) where our understanding of their biological roles is at a relatively nascent stage. This review examines the larger MS4A family focusing on their structure, expression, regulation and characterized and/or emerging biological roles. Our own work on one family member MS4A8B, and its possible role in epithelial cell regulation, is also highlighted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Disease
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins