The Evolution of Tetraspanins Through a Phylogenetic Lens

  • Rob DeSalle
  • Tung-Tien Sun
  • Tjard Bergmann
  • Antonio Garcia-España
Part of the Proteins and Cell Regulation book series (PROR, volume 9)


The tetraspanin superfamily of proteins provides an excellent system for examining many important evolutionary phenomena at the level of gene and protein sequences. Because dozens of eukaryotic organisms now have their full genomes sequenced, tetraspanins from these genomes can be compared and placed into a phylogenetic context. The whole genome information allows for researchers to trace with great precision the evolutionary events that have molded the broad array of tetraspanins found in eukaryotic genomes. We first demonstrate that phylogenetic analysis of tetraspanins from the fully sequenced genomes of an exemplar set of eukaryotes can give a fairly complete picture of the relationships of the families and subfamilies of tetraspanins. We can use the phylogenetic analysis of these tetraspanins to classify the various families and subfamilies of tetraspanins and use the sequence information as diagnostics for identifying novel tetraspanins. By using a phylogenetic perspective we also examine several important evolutionary processes in the tetraspanins such as intron evolution and the evolution of small protein motifs. We also describe a website for researchers who are interested in tetraspanin evolution, classification, identification and information called TSPAN4.web (


Intron Position Phylogenetic Approach Intron Gain Cysteine Motif Detailed Phylogenetic Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rob DeSalle
    • 1
  • Tung-Tien Sun
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Tjard Bergmann
    • 6
  • Antonio Garcia-España
    • 7
  1. 1.Sackler Institute for Comparative GenomicsAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Cell BiologyNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of PharmacologyNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of UrologyNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.ITZ, Ecology and EvolutionTierä rztliche Hochschule HannoverHannoverGermany
  7. 7.Research UnitUniversitat Rovira i Virgili, Hospital Joan XXIII, Pere Virgily Institute (IISPV)TarragonaSpain

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