Internal Affairs: Tenascin-C as a Clinically Relevant, Endogenous Driver of Innate Immunity.
Marzeda AM., Midwood KS.
To protect against danger, the innate immune system must promptly and accurately sense alarm signals, and mount an appropriate response to restore homeostasis. One endogenous trigger of immunity is tenascin-C, a large hexameric protein of the extracellular matrix. Upregulated upon tissue injury and cellular stress, tenascin-C is expressed during inflammation and tissue remodeling, where it influences cellular behavior by interacting with a multitude of molecular targets, including other matrix components, cell surface proteins, and growth factors. Here, we discuss how these interactions confer upon tenascin-C distinct immunomodulatory capabilities that make this matrix molecule necessary for efficient tissue repair. We also highlight in vivo studies that provide insight into the consequences of misregulated tenascin-C expression on inflammation and fibrosis during a wide range of inflammatory diseases. Finally, we examine how its unique expression pattern and inflammatory actions make tenascin-C a viable target for clinical exploitation in both diagnostic and therapeutic arenas.