Modulation of tetraspanin 32 (TSPAN32) expression in T cell-mediated immune responses and in multiple sclerosis

Salvo Danilo Lombardo, Emanuela Mazzon, Maria Sofia Basile, Giorgia Campo, Federica Corsico, Mario Presti, Placido Bramanti, Katia Mangano, Maria Cristina Petralia, Ferdinando Nicoletti, Paolo Fagone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tetraspanins are a conserved family of proteins involved in a number of biological processes including, cell-cell interactions, fertility, cancer metastasis and immune responses. It has previously been shown that TSPAN32 knockout mice have normal hemopoiesis and B-cell responses, but hyperproliferative T cells. Here, we show that TSPAN32 is expressed at higher levels in the lymphoid lineage as compared to myeloid cells. In vitro activation of T helper cells via anti-CD3/CD28 is associated with a significant downregulation of TSPAN32. Interestingly, engagement of CD3 is sufficient to modulate TSPAN32 expression, and its effect is potentiated by costimulation with anti-CD28, but not anti-CTLA4, -ICOS nor -PD1. Accordingly, we measured the transcriptomic levels of TSPAN32 in polarized T cells under Th1 and Th2 conditions and TSPAN32 resulted significantly reduced as compared with unstimulated cells. On the other hand, in Treg cells, TSPAN32 underwent minor changes upon activation. The in vitro data were finally translated into the context of multiple sclerosis (MS). Encephalitogenic T cells from Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein (MOG)-Induced Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) mice showed significantly lower levels of TSPAN32 and increased levels of CD9, CD53, CD82 and CD151. Similarly, in vitro-activated circulating CD4 T cells from MS patients showed lower levels of TSPAN32 as compared with cells from healthy donors. Overall, these data suggest an immunoregulatory role for TSPAN32 in T helper immune response and may represent a target of future immunoregulatory therapies for T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4323
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • T cell responses
  • Tetraspanins
  • TSPAN32

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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