CD157 is a pleiotropic ectoenzyme which belongs to the CD38 family and to the growing number of leukocyte surface molecules known to act independently as both receptors and enzymes. A 45-kDa surface structure with a GPI anchor, the CD157 molecule displays two distinct domains in its extracellular component. The first is implicated in the enzymic activities of the molecule and the second features adhesion/signalling properties. CD157 shares several characteristics with CD38, including a similar amino acid sequence and enzymic functions. Both molecules are involved in the metabolism of NAD(+), and the CD157 gene is synthenic on 4p15 with CD38, with which it also shares a unique genomic organization. Their conservation in phylogeny is striking evidence for their relevance in the life and death cycle of the cell.
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