Dr Michael Tomlinson DPhil

Dr Michael Tomlinson

School of Biosciences
Senior Lecturer
Cells and Molecules Research Theme Lead

Contact details

School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Mike Tomlinson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham.  He is a member of the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE), and associate member of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences.  He leads the School of Biosciences Cells and Molecules Research Theme.  Mike’s research focuses on tetraspanins as regulators of the trafficking and membrane dynamics of proteins such as the ‘molecular scissor’ ADAM10 and the store-operated Ca2+ entry channel Orai1.


BSc (University of Bath)

DPhil (University of Oxford)


Dr Mike Tomlinson grew up in Birmingham before studying as an undergraduate at the University of Bath.  Mike was one of the founders of the tetraspanin field during his PhD at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in Oxford, supervised by immunologists Neil Barclay and Mark Wright.  Between 1996 and 2003 he did post-doctoral work in two leading lymphocyte cell signalling groups in the USA, run by Joe Bolen at DNAX Research Institute in Palo Alto, and by Art Weiss at the University of California, San Francisco. 

In 2004 he moved back to the UK to join the platelet research group of Steve Watson in the Institute of Biomedical Research at the University of Birmingham.  Mike started his own research group in 2005 through a MRC New Investigator Award Fellowship to study tetraspanin regulation of platelet receptors.  In 2009 he obtained a British Heart Foundation Senior Fellowship to expand his tetraspanin research to endothelial cells, and moved across campus to the School of Biosciences. 

Mike became a Senior Lecturer in 2014 and his research group is funded by grants from the British Heart Foundation, BBSRC, European Research Council, Birmingham-Maastricht PhD Programme and MRC Harwell.  His current work aims to capitalise on the growing potential of tetraspanins as drug targets in a variety of disease processes.


Dr Tomlinson lectures on Cell Biology and Physiology to 1st year undergraduate students, on Cell and Developmental Biology and Topics in Medical Biochemistry to 2nd year students, on Human Health and Disease, Cellular Signalling and Molecular and Cellular Immunology to 3rd year students, and on Functional Genomics, Research Techniques, Research Developments and Funding and Pharmaceuticals and Therapeutic Biologicals from Bench to Market to masters students.  He also supervises final year research projects for several MSci, MSc, MRes and undergraduate students each year.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Mike Tomlinson has supervised five PhD students to completion and has three current PhD students in his group.


Dr Tomlinson has recently established a new paradigm in human membrane protein biology, whereby the important ‘molecular scissor’ ADAM10 is not one scissor, but six different scissors depending on which one of six tetraspanin regulatory proteins it is associated with – his ‘six scissor’ hypothesis.  This has major implications for future therapeutic targetting of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma and inflammatory diseases including those leading to heart attack and stroke.  Targetting all six ADAM10 scissors in these diseases would be too toxic for the patient, but targetting the one scissor that is causing the disease has great potential.

Dr Tomlinson leads the School of Biosciences Cells and Molecules Research Theme



Related Research: 

Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE): http://www.birmingham-nottingham.ac.uk/compare/

Other activities

When not chasing after one of his four young children, Dr Tomlinson can be found watching the Liverpool football team, growing chillies, or contemplating his next snowboarding or fishing trip.


  • De Winde CM, Matthews AL, van Deventer S, van der Schaaf A, Tomlinson ND, Jansen E, Eble JA, Nieswandt B, McGettrick HM, Figdor CG, Tomlinson MG, Acton SE and van Spriel AB (2018).  C-type lectin-like receptor 2 (CLEC-2)-dependent DC migration is controlled by tetraspanin CD37.  Journal of Cell Science.  Epub ahead of print.
  • Nicolson PLR, Hughes CE, Watson S, Nock SH, Hardy AT, Watson CN, Montague SJ, Malcor JD, Thomas MR, Pollitt AY, Tomlinson MG, Pratt G and Watson SP (2018).  Inhibition of Btk by Btk-specific concentrations of ibrutinib and acalabrutinib delays but does not block platelet aggregation to GPVI.  Haematologica.  Epub ahead of print.
  • Matthews AL, Koo CZ, Szyroka J, Harrison N, Kanhere A and Tomlinson MG (2018).  Regulation of Leukocytes by TspanC8 Tetraspanins and the "Molecular Scissor" ADAM10.  Frontiers in Immunology 9: 1451.
  • Brummer T, Pigoni M, Rossello A, Wang H, Noy PJ, Tomlinson MG, Blobel CP and Lichtenthaler SF (2018).  The metalloprotease ADAM10 (a disintegrin and metalloprotease 10) undergoes rapid, postlysis autocatalytic degradation.  FASEB Journal 32: 3560-3573.
  • Gotru SK, Chen W, Kraft P, Becker IC, Wolf K, Stritt S, Zierler S, Hermanns HM, Rao D, Perraud AL, Schmitz C, Zahedi RP, Noy PJ, Tomlinson MG, Dandekar T, Matsushita M, Chubanov V, Gudermann T, Stoll G, Nieswandt B and Braun A (2018).  TRPM7 kinase controls calcium responses in arterial thrombosis and stroke in mice.  Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 38: 344-352.
  • Reyat JS, Chimen M, Noy PJ, Szyroka J, Rainger GE* and Tomlinson MG* (2017).  ADAM10-interacting tetraspanins Tspan5 and Tspan17 regulate VE-cadherin expression and promote T lymphocyte transmigration.  Journal of Immunology 199: 666-676.  *Joint senior authors.
  • Haining EJ, Matthews AL, Noy PJ, Romanska HM, Harris HJ, Pike J, Morowski M, Gavin RL, Yang J, Milhiet PE, Berditchevski F, Nieswandt B, Poulter NS, Watson SP and Tomlinson MG (2017).  Tetraspanin Tspan9 regulates platelet collagen receptor GPVI lateral diffusion and activation.  Platelets 28: 629-642.  Plenary paper for best paper in the journal issue.
  • Tomlinson MG (2017).  Eye-opening potential for tetraspanin Tspan12 as a therapeutic target for diseases of the retinal vasculature.  Circulation 136: 196-199.
  • Matthews AL, Szyroka J, Collier R, Noy PJ and Tomlinson MG (2017).  Scissor sisters: regulation of ADAM10 by the TspanC8 tetraspanins.  Biochemical Society Transactions 45: 719-730.  Journal cover image.
  • Matthews AL, Noy PJ, Reyat JS and Tomlinson MG (2017).  Regulation of A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase (ADAM) family sheddases: the emerging role of tetraspanins and rhomboids.  Platelets 28: 333-341.
  • Reyat JS, Tomlinson MG and Noy PJ (2017).  Utilising lentiviral gene transfer in primary endothelial cells to assess lymphocyte-endothelial interactions.  Methods in Molecular Biology 1591: 155-168.
  • Sarhan AR, Szyroka J, Begum S, Tomlinson MG, Hotchin NA, Heath JK and Cunningham DL (2017).  Quantitative phosphoproteomics reveals a role for collapsin response mediator protein 2 in PDGF-induced cell migration.  Scientific Reports 7: 3970.
  • Noy PJ, Yang J, Reyat JS, Matthews AL, Charlton AE, Furmston J, Rogers DA, Rainger GE and Tomlinson MG (2016).  TspanC8 Tetraspanins and A Disintegrin and Metalloprotease 10 (ADAM10) Interact Via Their Extracellular Regions: Evidence For Distinct Binding Mechanisms For Different TspanC8s.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 291: 3145-3157.
  • Sarhan AR, Patel TR, Creese AJ, Tomlinson MG, Hellberg C, Heath JK, Hotchin NA and Cunningham DL (2016).  Regulation of platelet derived growth factor signalling by LAR protein tyrosine phosphatase: a quantitative phosphoproteomics study.  Molecular and Cellular Proteomics 15: 1823-1836.
  • Sarhan AR, Patel TR, Cowell AR, Tomlinson MG, Hellberg C, Heath JK, Cunningham DL and Hotchin NA (2016).  LAR protein tyrosine phosphatase regulates focal adhesions via CDK1.  Journal of Cell Science 129: 2962-2971.
  • Cherpokova D, Bender M, Morowski M, Kraft P, Schuhmann MK, Akbar SM, Sultan CS, Hughes CE, Kleinschnitz C, Stoll G, Dragone LL, Watson SP, Tomlinson MG* and Nieswandt B* (2015).  SLAP/SLAP2 prevent excessive platelet (hem)ITAM signaling in thrombosis and ischemic stroke in mice.  Blood 125: 185-194.  Journal cover image.  *Joint corresponding authors.
  • Rubinstein E, Charrin S and Tomlinson MG (2013).  Organisation of the tetraspanin web.  In Tetraspanins (Berditchevski F and Rubinstein E, eds), Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 47-90.
  • Turner AM, McGowan L, Millen A, Rajesh P, Webster C, Langman G, Rock G, Tachibana I, Tomlinson MG, Berditchevski F, Naidu B (2013).  Circulating DBP level and prognosis in operated lung cancer: an exploration of pathophysiology.  European Respiratory Journal 41: 410-416.
  • Haining EJ, Yang J, Bailey RL, Khan K, Collier R, Tsai S, Watson SP, Frampton J, Garcia P and Tomlinson MG (2012).  The TspanC8 subgroup of tetraspanins interacts with a disintegrin and metalloprotease 10 (ADAM10) and regulates its maturation and cell surface expression.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 287: 39753-39765.
  • Tomlinson MG (2011).  Analysis of the platelet and megakaryocyte transcriptomes using serial analysis of gene expression.  In Platelet Proteomics: Principles, Analysis, and Applications (Garcia A and Senis YA, eds), Wiley, pp. 209-230.
  • Haining EJ, Yang J and Tomlinson MG (2011).  Tetraspanin microdomains: fine-tuning platelet function.  Biochemical Society Transactions 39: 518-523.
  • Bailey RL, Herbert JM, Khan K, Heath VL, Bicknell R and Tomlinson MG (2011).  The emerging role of tetraspanin microdomains on endothelial cells.  Biochemical Society Transactions 39: 1667–1673.
  • Hughes CE, PollittAY, MoriJ, EbleJA, TomlinsonMG, Hartwig JH, O’Callaghan CA, FuttererK and Watson SP (2010).  CLEC-2 activates Syk through dimerisation.  Blood 115: 2947-2955.
  • Protty MB, Watkins NA, Colombo D, Thomas SG, Heath VL, Herbert JMJ, Bicknell R, Senis YA, Ashman LK, Berditchevski F, Ouwehand WH, Watson SP and Tomlinson MG (2009).  Identification of Tspan9 as a novel platelet tetraspanin and the collagen receptor GPVI as a component of tetraspanin microdomains.  Biochemical Journal 417: 391-400.
  • Senis YA*, Tomlinson MG*, Ellison S, Mazharian A, Lim J, Zhao Y, Kornerup KN, Auger JM, Thomas SG, Dhanjal T, Kalia N, Zhu JW, Weiss A and Watson SP (2009).  The tyrosine phosphatase CD148 is an essential positive regulator of platelet activation and thrombosis.  Blood 113: 4942-4954.  *Joint first authors.
  • Tomlinson MG (2009).  Platelet tetraspanins: small but interesting.  Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 7: 2070-2073.
  • MoriJ, PearceAC, Spalton JC, Grygielska B, Eble JA, Tomlinson MG, Senis YA and Watson SP (2008).  G6b-B inhibits constitutive and agonist-induced signalling by GPVI and CLEC-2.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 283: 35419-35427.
  • Senis YA, Tomlinson MG, Garcia A, Dumon S, Heath VL, Herbert J, Cobbold SP, Spalton JC, Ayman S, Antrobus R, Zitzmann N, Bicknell R, Frampton J, Authi KS, Martin A, Wakelam MJ and Watson SP (2007).  A comprehensive proteomics and genomics analysis reveals novel transmembrane proteins in human platelets and mouse megakaryocytes including G6b-B, a novel immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif protein.  Molecular and Cellular Proteomics 6: 548-564.
  • Fuller GL, Williams JA, Tomlinson MG, Eble JA, Hanna SL, Pohlmann S, Suzuki-Inoue K, Ozaki Y, Watson SP and Pearce AC (2007).  The C-type lectin receptors CLEC-2 and Dectin-1, but not DC-SIGN, signal via a novel YXXL-dependent signalling cascade.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 282: 12397-12409.
  • Berlanga O, Bori-Sanz T, James JR, Frampton J, Davis SJ, Tomlinson MG and Watson SP (2007).  GPVI oligomerisation in cell lines and platelets.  Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 5: 1026-1033.
  • Tomlinson MG, Calaminus SD, Berlanga O, Auger JM, Bori-Sanz T, Meyaard L and Watson SP (2007).  Collagen promotes sustained GPVI signalling in platelets and cell lines.  Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 5: 2274-2283.
  • Garcia A, Senis YA, Tomlinson MG and Watson SP (2006).  Platelet genomics and proteomics.  In Platelets (Michelson AD, ed), Academic Press/Elsevier Science, New York, pp. 99-116.
  • Dumon S, Heath VL, Tomlinson MG, Gottgens B and Frampton J (2006).  Differentiation of murine committed megakaryocytic progenitors isolated by a novel strategy reveals the complexity of GATA and Ets factor involvement in megakaryocytopoiesis and an unexpected potential role for GATA-6.  Experimental Hematology 34: 654-663.
  • Tomlinson MG, Kane LP, Su J, Kadlecek TA, Mollenauer MN and Weiss A (2004).  Expression and function of Tec, Itk and Btk in lymphocytes: evidence for a unique role for Tec.  Molecular and Cellular Biology 24: 2455-2466.
  • Tomlinson MG, Heath VL, Turck CW, Watson SP and Weiss A (2004).  SHIP family inositol phosphatases interact with and negatively regulate the Tec tyrosine kinase.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 279: 55089-55096.
  • Roose JP, Diehn M, Tomlinson MG, Lin J, Alizadeh AA, Brown PO, Botstein D and Weiss A (2003).  T cell receptor-independent basal signaling via Erk and Abl kinases suppresses RAG gene expression.  Public Library of Sciences Biology 1: 271-287.
  • Tomlinson MG, Woods DB, McMahon M, Wahl MI, Witte ON, Kurosaki T, Bolen JB and Johnston JA (2001).  A conditional form of Bruton's tyrosine kinase is sufficient to activate multiple downstream signaling pathways via PLCgamma2 in B cells.  BMC Immunology 2(1):4.
  • Tomlinson MG, Lin J and Weiss A (2000).  Lymphocytes with a complex: adapter proteins in antigen receptor signaling.  Immunology Today 21: 584-591.
  • Morimoto AM, Tomlinson MG, Nakatani K, Bolen JB, Roth RA and Herbst R (2000).  The MMAC1 tumour suppressor phosphatase inhibits phospholipase C and integrin-linked kinase activity.  Oncogene 19: 200-209.
  • Heath VL, Murphy EE, Crain C, Tomlinson MG and O’Garra A (2000).  TGF-beta1 down-regulates Th2 development and results in decreased IL-4-induced STAT6 activation and GATA-3 expression.  European Journal of Immunology 30: 2639-2649.
  • Pasquet JM, Bobe R, Gross B, Gratacap MP, Tomlinson MG, Payrastre B and Watson SP (1999).  A collagen-related peptide regulates phospholipase Cgamma2 via phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in human platelets.  Biochemical Journal 342: 171-177.
  • Tomlinson MG, Kurosaki T, Berson AE, Fujii GH, Johnston JA and Bolen JB (1999).  Reconstitution of Btk signaling by the atypical Tec family tyrosine kinases Bmx and Txk.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 274: 13577-13585.
  • Barclay AN, Brown MH, Law SKA, McKnight AJ, Tomlinson MG and van der Merwe PA (1997).  The Leucocyte Antigen Factsbook, second edition. Academic Press, London.
  • Tomlinson MG and Wright MD (1996).  A new transmembrane 4 superfamily molecule in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegansJournal of Molecular Evolution 43: 312-314.
  • Tomlinson MG and Wright MD (1996).  Characterization of mouse CD37: cDNA and genomic cloning.  Molecular Immunology 33: 867-872.
  • Seldin MF, Rochelle JM, Tomlinson MG and Wright MD (1995).  Mapping of the genes for four members of the transmembrane 4 superfamily, mouse Cd9, Cd63, Cd81 and Cd82Immunogenetics 42: 422-425.
  • Tomlinson MG*, Hanke T*, Hughes DA, Barclay AN, Scholl E, Hünig T and Wright MD (1995).  Characterization of mouse CD53: epitope mapping, cellular distribution and induction by T-cell receptor engagement during repertoire selection.  European Journal of Immunology 25: 2201-2206.  *Joint first authors.
  • Wright MD and Tomlinson MG (1994).  The ins and outs of the transmembrane 4 superfamily.  Immunology Today 15: 588-594.
  • Pulsford AL, Tomlinson MG, Lemaire-Gony S and Glynn PJ (1994).  Development and immunocompetence of juvenile flounder Platichthys flesusFish and Shellfish Immunology 4: 63-78.
  • Pulsford AL, Lemaire-Gony S, Tomlinson MG, Collingwood N and Glynn PJ (1994).  Effects of acute stress on the immune system of the dab Limanda limandaComparative Biochemistry and Physiology 109C: 129-139.
  • Narnaware YK, Baker BI and Tomlinson MG (1994).  The effect of various stresses, corticosteroids and adrenergic agents on phagocytosis in rainbow-trout Oncorhynchus mykissFish Physiology and Biochemistry 13: 31-40.
  • Tomlinson MG, Williams AF and Wright MD (1993).  Epitope mapping of anti-rat CD53 monoclonal antibodies.  Implications for the membrane orientation of the transmembrane 4 superfamily.  European Journal of Immunology 23: 136-140.
  • Wright MD, Rochelle JM, Tomlinson MG, Seldin MF and Williams AF (1993).  Gene structure, chromosomal localization, and protein sequence of mouse CD53 (Cd53): evidence that the transmembrane 4 superfamily arose by gene duplication.  International Immunology 5: 209-216.

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regulation of membrane proteins and receptors by tetraspanins; membrane protein proteolysis by the ‘molecular scissor’ ADAM10

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