Complexes of tetraspanins with integrins: More than meets the eye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

490 Citations (Scopus)


The transmembrane proteins of the tetraspanin superfamily are implicated in a diverse range of biological phenomena, including cell motility, metastasis, cell proliferation and differentiation. The tetraspanins are associated with adhesion receptors of the integrin family and regulate integrin-dependent cell migration. In cells attached to the extracellular matrix, the integrin-tetraspanin adhesion complexes are clustered into a distinct type of adhesion structure at the cell periphery. Various tetraspanins are associated with phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase and protein kinase C isoforms, and they may facilitate assembly of signalling complexes by tethering these enzymes to integrin heterodimers. At the plasma membrane, integrin-tetraspanin signalling complexes are partitioned into specific microdomains proximal to cholesterol-rich lipid rafts. A substantial fraction of tetraspanins colocalise with integrins in various intracellular vesicular compartments. It is proposed that tetraspanins can influence cell migration by one of the following mechanisms: (1) modulation of integrin signalling; (2) compartmentalisation of integrins on the cell surface; or (3) direction of intracellular trafficking and recycling of integrins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4143-4151
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


Dive into the research topics of 'Complexes of tetraspanins with integrins: More than meets the eye'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this