We recently contributed to a Wellcome Open Research article describing a new panel of monoclonal antibodies against the tetraspanin CD81. This was in collaboration with my PhD supervisor Prof. Jane McKeating (who first got me hooked on virus entry).
I think CD81 is cool. It is a small transmembrane protein found on the cell surface of lots of different cell types. Like most tetraspanins, it acts as a molecular scaffold to organise events at cellular membranes. CD81 is multifunctional, for example: it is necessary for proper B-cell receptor signalling (i.e. no CD81 = messy immune response); it is important for sperm-egg fusion (i.e. making babies); CD81 is also critical for the entry of both hepatitis C virus and malaria sporozoites. The list goes on.
My admiration of this protein only grew when the crystal structure was published recently. I don't have time to go in to detail, but for a CD81 nerd it was pretty wild stuff!
Jane's team started work on developing a range of anti-CD81 antibodies whilst I was still working in her lab. A lot of people worked to characterise the antibodies, in particular the lab manager Ke Hu. The paper summarises our major findings and, effectively, advertises these great antibodies as tools for basic research of tetraspanin biology.
In the Grove Lab we have a few of projects in which CD81 is centre stage. These antibodies are proving invaluable!