S-100 protein

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S-100 protein is a type of low molecular weight protein found in vertebrates characterized by two calcium binding sites of the helix-loop-helix ("EF-hand type") conformation. There are at least 21 different types of S100 proteins. The name is derived from the fact that the protein is 100% Soluble in ammonium sulfate at neutral pH.


Most S100 proteins are homodimeric, consisting of two identical polypeptides held together by non-covalent bonds. Although S100 proteins are structurally similar to calmodulin, they differ in that they are cell-specific, expressed in particular cells at different levels depending on environmental factors. To contrast, calmodulin is a ubiquitous and universal intracellular Ca++ receptor widely expressed in many cells.

Normal function

S-100 is normally present in cells derived from the neural crest (Schwann cells, melanocytes, and glial cells), chondrocytes, adipocytes, myoepithelial cells, macrophages, Langerhans cells, dendritic cells, and keratinocytes. It may be present in some breast epithelial cells.

S100 proteins have been implicated in a variety of intracellular and extracellular functions. S100 proteins are involved in regulation of protein phosphorylation, transcription factors, Ca++ homeostasis, the dynamics of cytoskeleton constituents, enzyme activities, cell growth and differentiation, and the inflammatory response.


Several members of the S-100 protein family are useful as markers for certain tumors and epidermal differentiation. It can be found in melanomas, 50% of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, and clear cell sarcomas.

S100 proteins have been used in the lab as cell markers for anatomic pathology.


  • Donato R (2003). "Intracellular and extracellular roles of S100 proteins". Microsc. Res. Tech. 60 (6): 540–51. PMID 12645002.
  • Wolf R, Voscopoulos CJ, FitzGerald PC; et al. (2006). "The mouse S100A15 ortholog parallels genomic organization, structure, gene expression, and protein-processing pattern of the human S100A7/A15 subfamily during epidermal maturation". J. Invest. Dermatol. 126 (7): 1600–8. doi:10.1038/sj.jid.5700210. PMID 16528363.


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