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Tenascins are extracellular matrix proteins with distinct spatial and temporal expression during development, tissue homeostasis and disease. Based on their expression patterns and knockout phenotypes an important role of tenascins in tissue formation, cell adhesion modulation, regulation of proliferation and differentiation has been demonstrated. All of these features are of importance in stem cell niches where a precise regulation of growth versus differentiation has to be guaranteed. In this review we summarize the expression and possible functions of tenascins in neural, epithelial and osteogenic stem cell niches during normal development and organ turnover, in the hematopoietic and pro-inflammatory niche as well as in the metastatic niche during cancer progression.

Original publication




Journal article


Matrix biology : journal of the International Society for Matrix Biology

Publication Date





112 - 123


Friedrich Miescher Institute of Biomedical Research, Novartis Research Foundation, Maulbeerstrasse 66 CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland; Faculty of Sciences, University of Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:


Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Pluripotent Stem Cells, Humans, Neoplasm Metastasis, Neovascularization, Pathologic, Tenascin, Cell Differentiation, Cell Movement, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Osteogenesis, Neural Stem Cells