CD38 and CD157: A long journey from activation markers to multifunctional molecules

Authors

  • Valeria Quarona,

    1. Department of Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, University of Torino Medical School, TORINO, Italy
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  • Gianluca Zaccarello,

    1. Department of Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, University of Torino Medical School, TORINO, Italy
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  • Antonella Chillemi,

    1. Department of Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, University of Torino Medical School, TORINO, Italy
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  • Enrico Brunetti,

    1. Department of Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, University of Torino Medical School, TORINO, Italy
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  • Vijay Kumar Singh,

    1. Cancer Genomics Laboratory, Fondazione Edo ed Elvo Tempia, BIELLA, Italy
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  • Enza Ferrero,

    1. Department of Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, University of Torino Medical School, TORINO, Italy
    2. Centro di Ricerca in Medicina Sperimentale (CeRMS), University of Torino Medical School, Torino, Italy
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  • Ada Funaro,

    1. Department of Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, University of Torino Medical School, TORINO, Italy
    2. Centro di Ricerca in Medicina Sperimentale (CeRMS), University of Torino Medical School, Torino, Italy
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  • Alberto L. Horenstein,

    1. Department of Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, University of Torino Medical School, TORINO, Italy
    2. Centro di Ricerca in Medicina Sperimentale (CeRMS), University of Torino Medical School, Torino, Italy
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  • Fabio Malavasi

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro di Ricerca in Medicina Sperimentale (CeRMS), University of Torino Medical School, Torino, Italy
    2. Transplantation Immunology Service, Città della Salute Hospital, TORINO, Italy
    • Department of Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, University of Torino Medical School, TORINO, Italy
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Correspondence to: Fabio Malavasi, Lab of Immunogenetics, University of Torino Medical School, Via Santena 19, 10126, Torino, Italy. E-mail: fabio.malavasi@unito.it

Abstract

CD38 (also known as T10) was identified in the late 1970s in the course of pioneering work carried out at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center (Boston, MA) that focused on the identification of surface molecules involved in antigen recognition. CD38 was initially found on thymocytes and T lymphocytes, but today we know that the molecule is found throughout the immune system, although its expression levels vary. Because of this, CD38 was considered an “activation marker,” a term still popular in routine flow cytometry. This review summarizes the findings obtained from different approaches, which led to CD38 being re-defined as a multifunctional molecule. CD38 and its homologue CD157 (BST-1), contiguous gene duplicates on human chromosome 4 (4p15), are part of a gene family encoding products that modulate the social life of cells by means of bidirectional signals. Both CD38 and CD157 play dual roles as receptors and ectoenzymes, endowed with complex activities related to signaling and cell homeostasis. The structure-function analysis presented here is intended to give clinical scientists and flow cytometrists a background knowledge of these molecules. The link between CD38/CD157 and human diseases will be explored here in the context of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, myeloma and ovarian carcinoma, although other disease associations are also known. Thus CD38 and CD157 have evolved from simple leukocyte activation markers to multifunctional molecules involved in health and disease. Future tasks will be to explore their potential as targets for in vivo therapeutic interventions and as regulators of the immune response. © 2013 International Clinical Cytometry Society

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