The molecular basis of induction and formation of tunneling nanotubes

Shunsuke Kimura, Koji Hase, Hiroshi Ohno

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Tunneling nanotubes (TNTs) and associated structures are recently recognized structures for intercellular communication. They are F-actin-containing thin protrusions of the plasma membrane of a cell and allow a direct physical connection to the plasma membranes of remote cells. TNTs and associated structures serve as mediators for intercellular transfer of organelles as well as membrane components and cytoplasmic molecules. Moreover, several pathogens have been shown to exploit these structures to spread among cells. Because of their contribution to normal cellular functions and importance in pathological conditions, studies on TNTs and related structures have accelerated over the past few years. These studies have revealed key molecules for their induction and/or formation; HIV Nef and M-Sec can induce the formation of TNTs in coordination with the remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton and vesicle trafficking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Exocyst complex
  • HIV Nef
  • M-Sec/TNFaip2/B94
  • Rho small GTPase family
  • Tunneling nanotubes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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