The Tetraspanin/Transmembrane-4 Superfamily of cell surface molecules is defined by their four highly conserved transmembrane domains and is found in a wide variety of species and cell types. A common function for these molecules has yet to be discovered, however their broad expression patterns and conservation over evolution suggests that they will have an important general function relevant to many cell lineages. Here we describe the cloning and characterisation of the murine homologue of a recently described member of this superfamily, tspan-3. Murine tspan-3 was remarkably similar to the human molecule showing 88% identity at the nucleic acid level and 98% homology on the amino acid level. Northern blot analyses of mouse tspan-3 show a very broad pattern of expression, with expression readily detected in most organs including neural and bone marrow derived tissues.
- transmembrane 4 superfamily