The expression and possible functions of tenascin-W during development and disease

Richard P. Tucker, Martin Degen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Tenascins are a family of multifunctional glycoproteins found in the extracellular matrix of chordates. Two of the tenascins, tenascin-C and tenascin-W, form hexabrachions. In this review, we describe the discovery and domain architecture of tenascin-W, its evolution and patterns of expression during embryogenesis and in tumors, and its effects on cells in culture. In avian and mammalian embryos tenascin-W is primarily expressed at sites of osteogenesis, and in the adult tenascin-W is abundant in certain stem cell niches. In primary cultures of osteoblasts tenascin-W promotes cell migration, the formation of mineralized foci and increases alkaline phosphatase activity. Tenascin-W is also prominent in many solid tumors, yet it is missing from the extracellular matrix of most adult tissues. This makes it a potential candidate for use as a marker of tumor stroma and a target for anti-cancer therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Development
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Osteogenesis
  • Stem cells
  • Tenascin-W
  • Tumor stroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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