Scissor sisters: regulation of ADAM10 by the TspanC8 tetraspanins

Alexandra Matthews, Justyna Szyroka, Richard Collier, Peter Noy, Michael Tomlinson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
189 Downloads (Pure)


A disintegrin and metalloprotease 10 (ADAM10) is a ubiquitously-expressed transmembrane protein which is essential for embryonic development through activation of Notch proteins. ADAM10 regulates over 40 other transmembrane proteins and acts as a ‘molecular scissor’ by removing their extracellular regions. ADAM10 is also a receptor for α-toxin, a major virulence factor of Staphylococcus aureus. Due to the importance of its substrates, ADAM10 is a potential therapeutic target for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and prion disease, bacterial infection and inflammatory diseases such as heart attack, stroke and asthma. However, targetting ADAM10 is likely to result in toxic side effects. The tetraspanins are a superfamily of 33 four-transmembrane proteins in mammals which interact with and regulate specific partner proteins within membrane nanodomains. Tetraspanins appear to have a cone-shaped structure with a cholesterol-binding cavity, which may enable tetraspanins to undergo cholesterol-regulated conformational change. An emerging paradigm for tetraspanin function is the regulation of ADAM10 by the TspanC8 subgroup of tetraspanins, namely Tspan5, 10, 14, 15, 17 and 33. This review will describe how TspanC8s are required for ADAM10 trafficking from the endoplasmic reticulum and its enzymatic maturation. Moreover, different TspanC8s localise ADAM10 to different subcellular localisations, and may cause ADAM10 to adopt distinct conformations and cleavage of distinct substrates. We propose that ADAM10 should now be regarded as six different scissor proteins depending on the interacting TspanC8. Therapeutic targetting of specific TspanC8/ADAM10 complexes could allow ADAM10 targetting in a cell type- or substrate-specific manner, to treat certain diseases while minimising toxicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-730
Number of pages12
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • ADAM10
  • TspanC8
  • metalloprotease
  • tetraspanin


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