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A virological view of tenascin-C in infection

Zuliani-Alvarez, Lorena; Piccinini, Anna Maria

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Lorena Zuliani-Alvarez


Tenascin-C is a large extracellular matrix glycoprotein with complex, not yet fully unveiled roles. Its context- and structure-dependent modus operandi renders tenascin-C a puzzling protein. Since its discovery ∼40 years ago, research into tenascin-C biology continues to reveal novel functions, the most recent of all being its immunomodulatory activity, especially its role in infection, which is just now beginning to emerge. Here, we explore the role of tenascin-C in the immune response to viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 and HIV-1. Recently, tenascin-C has emerged as a biomarker of disease severity during COVID-19 and other viral infections, and we highlight relevant RNA sequencing and proteomic analyses that suggest a correlation between tenascin-C levels and disease severity. Finally, we ask what the function of this protein during viral replication is and propose tenascin-C as an intercellular signal of inflammation shuttled to distal sites via exosomes, a player in the repair and remodeling of infected and damaged tissues during severe infectious disease, as well as a ligand for specific pathogens with distinct implications for the host.


Zuliani-Alvarez, L., & Piccinini, A. M. (2023). A virological view of tenascin-C in infection. American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology, 324(1), C1-C9.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Nov 30, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 2, 2022
Publication Date Jan 1, 2023
Deposit Date Dec 19, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 3, 2023
Journal American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology
Print ISSN 0363-6143
Electronic ISSN 1522-1563
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 324
Issue 1
Pages C1-C9
Keywords Cell Biology; Physiology
Public URL
Publisher URL


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