CD9, CD63, CD81, and CD82 are components of a surface tetraspan network connected to HLA-DR and VLA integrins

Eur J Immunol. 1996 Nov;26(11):2657-65. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830261117.


CD9, CD63, CD81, and CD82 are glycoproteins of unknown function which belong to the tetraspan superfamily. These molecules have short cytoplasmic sequences, four transmembrane domains and two unequal extracellular regions. Here, we show that these molecules are associated with each other on cell surface and with other glycoproteins such as very late antigen (VLA) integrins and HLA-DR antigens. Moreover, the VLA integrins and HLA-DR antigens were also found to be associated. The interactions of these molecules were analyzed by transfection experiments. It is demonstrated that overexpression of CD9 antigen in Raji cells leads to a lower efficiency of precipitation of CD81 and CD82, suggesting a direct interaction between these molecules. In these cells, the co-precipitation of CD81 and CD82 was not modified, suggesting that these tetraspans did not compete for association. However, in COS-7 cells, transfection of both CD81 and CD82 led to a marked reduction of the number of CD9/CD81 or CD9/CD82 complexes compared to single-transfected cells, and this was associated with the appearance of CD81/CD82 complexes. Therefore, in this cellular system, CD9 competes with CD81 and CD82 for association with the other tetraspan proteins. Finally, the tetraspans do not compete for the association with integrins or HLA-DR. Indeed, when CD9 was expressed in Raji cells, it was incorporated into the pre-existing complexes of these molecules with CD81 and CD82. These data suggest the existence of a tetraspan network which, by connecting several molecules, may organize the positioning of cell surface proteins and play a role in signal transduction, cell adhesion, and motility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / chemistry*
  • B-Lymphocytes / chemistry
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / chemistry
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / immunology
  • Cell Communication / immunology
  • HLA-DR Antigens / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Integrin beta1 / chemistry*
  • Kangai-1 Protein
  • Megakaryocytes / chemistry
  • Megakaryocytes / immunology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins / chemistry*
  • Protein Binding / immunology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins*
  • Receptors, Very Late Antigen / chemistry*
  • Tetraspanin 28
  • Tetraspanin 29
  • Tetraspanin 30
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD63 protein, human
  • CD81 protein, human
  • CD82 protein, human
  • CD9 protein, human
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Integrin beta1
  • Kangai-1 Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Receptors, Very Late Antigen
  • Tetraspanin 28
  • Tetraspanin 29
  • Tetraspanin 30