Cellular Function and Regulation of the Translationally Controlled Tumour Protein TCTP

Ulrich-Axel Bommer*
Graduate School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia.

© 2012 Ulrich-Axel Bommer;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Graduate School of Medicine,University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia; Tel: +61-2-4221-5138; Fax: +61-2-4221-4341; E-mail:


The ‘translationally controlled tumour protein’ TCTP was originally discovered 30 years ago by researchers interested in proteins regulated at the translational level. Cloning and sequencing confirmed the conservation of this protein among all eukaryotic kingdoms, but did not reveal any functional clue, and TCTP was listed in the databases as a ‘family’ of its own. The functional characterisation of this protein extended over more than a decade, leading to a plethora of individual functions and interactions that have been ascribed to this protein. A major addition to the functional characterisation of TCTP was the identification in 1995 of its histamine releasing factor (HRF) activity in allergic conditions, which for the first time described an extracellular activity for TCTP in human disease. This triggered a host of additional publications aimed at characterising this HRF activity, which are discussed in other articles of this issue. Another milestone in the elucidation of TCTP's function was the demonstration of its anti-apoptotic activity in 2001. Evidence is also accumulating for a role of TCTP in the cell cycle and in early development. This article provides an overview of the main cellular activities of TCTP. The second part will summarise our current knowledge on the mechanisms involved in regulating intracellular TCTP levels.

Keywords: TCTP, histamine releasing factor, fortilin, mitotic regulation, anti-apoptotic protein, mTORC1 signalling, tumour protein, translational regulation.