CD81 Membrane Protein Introduction

Introduction of CD81

CD81, also named as TAPA-1, is a member of the tetraspanin superfamily of cell surface proteins. Tetraspanins are embedded in the plasma membrane by four transmembrane domains that flank short amino and carboxyl cytoplasmic termini and a small and a large extracellular loop. CD81 is composed of a stalk of two longer α helices and a novel mushroom-like head structure folded with the help of two disulfide bridges. CD81 plays an important role in the regulation of lymphoma cell growth and interacts with a 16-kDa Leu-13 protein to form a complex possibly involved in signal transduction. CD81 may act as the viral receptor for HCV.

Basic Information of CD81
Protein Name CD81
Gene Name CD81
Aliases TAPA1
Organism Homo sapiens (Human)
UniProt ID P60033
Transmembrane Times 4
Length (aa) 236

Function of CD81 Membrane Protein

CD81 is a broadly expressed protein and is associated with a wide variety of different biological responses, including cell adhesion, morphology, motility, metastasis, proliferation, differentiation, cell activation, and signal transduction. It does so by interacting with a variety of signaling molecules. CD81 is a ligand for HCV in hepatocytes and in T, B, and dendritic cells (DCs), and CD81 and CD9 can modulate HIV-1 membrane fusion and viral clustering at the viral synapse. CD81 is also required for hepatocyte infection by Plasmodium. CD81 plays important roles in adaptive immunity. Researches have confirmed CD81 forms a B cell co-receptor complex with CD19, CD21, Iga, and Igb, and enhances B cell signaling during the process of B cell activation. CD81 could promote IL-4 secretion and antibody production, and also control the organization of the immune synapse (IS) and T cell activation. In addition, the CD19/CD21/CD81 molecular complex bridges the adaptive and innate immune systems.

CD81 Membrane Protein Introduction Fig.1 Cartoon of Claudin-1 and CD81 illustrating their basic topologies. (Bonander, 2011)

Application of CD81 Membrane Protein in Literature

  1. Levy S., Function of the tetraspanin molecule CD81 in B and T cells. Immunol Res. 2014, 58(2-3):179-185. PubMed ID: 24522698

    This article shows CD81 expressed on T cells as a facilitator of cognate B–T cell interactions, which, in turn, augments intracellular interactions leading to Th2 polarization.

  2. Chen J. and Enns C.A. CD81 promotes both the degradation of transferrin receptor 2 (TfR2) and the Tfr2-mediated maintenance of hepcidin expression. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2015, 290(12):7841-7850. PubMed ID: 25635054

    This article suggests that CD81/TfR2 complex regulates hepcidin expression differently from the predicted BMP/SMAD and ERK1/2 signaling pathways.

  3. Martínez del Hoyo G., CD81 controls immunity to Listeria infection through rac-dependent inhibition of proinflammatory mediator release and activation of cytotoxic T cells. Journal of Immunology. 2015, 194(12):6090-6101. PubMed ID: 25972472

    This article suggests that CD81 plays a regulatory role during systemic Listeria infection by controlling different aspects of immune cell invasion through the modulation of downstream signaling pathways and the regulation of the presentation activity of DCs.

  4. Li W., The swine CD81 enhances E2-based DNA vaccination against classical swine fever. Vaccine. 2015, 33(30):3542-3548. 2011, 108(6):2534-2539. PubMed ID: 26051512

    This article reveals that CD81 enhances the effects of the DNA vaccine and could be used as a potential genetic adjuvant for other DNA vaccines.

  5. Houldsworth A., CD81 sequence and susceptibility to hepatitis C infection. Journal of Medical Virology. 2014, 86(1):162-168. PubMed ID: 24122777

    This article suggests that no sequence variation is found in any of the patients studied by either method, including gene sections encoding the residues most important for CD81-HCV E2 binding.

CD81 Preparation Options

Membrane protein studies have advanced significantly over the past few years. Based on our versatile Magic™ membrane protein production platform, we could offer a series of membrane protein preparation services for worldwide customers in reconstitution forms as well as multiple active formats. Aided by our versatile Magic™ anti-membrane protein antibody discovery platform, we also provide customized anti-CD81 antibody development services.

During the past years, Creative Biolabs has successfully generated many functional membrane proteins for our global customers. We are happy to accelerate the development of our clients’ programs with our one-stop, custom-oriented service. For more detailed information, please feel free to contact us.


  1. Bonander N, et al. (2011). Structural characterization of CD81–Claudin-1 hepatitis C virus receptor complexes. Biochemical Society Transactions. 39(2), 537-540.

Online Inquiry

Verification code
Click image to refresh the verification code.


USA: 45-1 Ramsey Road, Shirley, NY 11967, USA
Europe: Heidenkampsweg 58, 20097 Hamburg, Germany
Call us at:
USA: 1-631-381-2994
Europe: 44-207-097-1828
Fax: 1-631-207-8356
Our customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact Us