Michael Tomlinson


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PhD projects

Regulation of the 'molecular scissor' ADAM10 by tetraspanins: implications for human diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, asthma and inflammatory diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

Techniques include cell culture and CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, flow cytometry, co-immunoprecipitation and western blotting using the Odyssey Infrared Imaging System, and advanced fluorescence microscopy.


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Regulation of membrane proteins and receptors by tetraspanins

I investigate how membrane proteins and receptors on human cells are regulated by a family of 33 tetraspanin ‘membrane organiser’ proteins.  A major focus is the regulation of the ‘molecular scissor’ ADAM10 by six tetraspanins that I have termed the TspanC8s.  These comprise Tspan5, 10, 14, 15, 17 and 33.  ADAM10 is essential for embryonic development and is expressed on all cells.  ADAM10 is critical for cellular development, activation and adhesion; it functions by proteolytically cleaving the extracellular regions from its target proteins that include the cell fate regulator Notch, amyloid precursor protein, cadherin adhesion molecules and the platelet-activating collagen/fibrin receptor GPVI.  We have proposed the “six scissor” hypothesis, whereby the associated TspanC8 dictates the subcellular localisation and substrate specificity of the ADAM10 scissor.  This has potential for therapeutic targeting of ADAM10 in a cell type- or substrate-specific manner, so minimising toxic side effects.  Diseases of interest include inflammatory diseases, heart attack and stroke, cancer, asthma and Alzheimer’s disease.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Structure and function of tetraspanins in lymphocytes, University of Oxford

Award Date: 1 Dec 1995

Bachelor of Science, BSc (Hons) in Applied Biology, Class 1, University of Bath

Award Date: 1 Jun 1991


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