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Thrombospondins (TSPs) are multidomain, calcium-binding glycoproteins that have wide-ranging roles in vertebrates in cell interactions, extracellular matrix (ECM) organisation, angiogenesis, tissue remodelling, synaptogenesis, and also in musculoskeletal and cardiovascular functions. Land animals encode five TSPs, which assembly co-translationally either as trimers (subgroup A) or pentamers (subgroup B). The vast majority of research has focused on this canonical TSP family, which evolved through the whole-genome duplications that took place early in the vertebrate lineage. With benefit of the growth in genome- and transcriptome-predicted proteomes of a much wider range of animal species, examination of TSPs throughout metazoan phyla has revealed extensive conservation of subgroup B-type TSPs in invertebrates. In addition, these searches established that canonical TSPs are, in fact, one branch within a TSP superfamily that includes other clades designated mega-TSPs, sushi-TSPs and poriferan-TSPs. Despite the apparent simplicity of poriferans and cnidarians as organisms, these phyla encode a greater diversity of TSP superfamily members than vertebrates. We discuss here the molecular characteristics of the TSP superfamily members, current knowledge of their expression profiles and functions in invertebrates, and models for the evolution of this complex ECM superfamily. Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

Citation

Richard P Tucker, Josephine C Adams. Molecular evolution of the Thrombospondin superfamily. Seminars in cell & developmental biology. 2024 Mar 01;155(Pt B):12-21

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PMID: 37202276

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