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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jan 9, 1996; 93(1): 136–140.

Molecular cloning of mesothelin, a differentiation antigen present on mesothelium, mesotheliomas, and ovarian cancers.


Monoclonal antibody MAb K1 recognizes a 40-kDa glycoprotein present on the surface of mesothelial cells, mesotheliomas, and ovarian cancers. We have used MAb K1 to isolate a 2138-bp cDNA that encodes this antigen. The cDNA has an 1884-bp open reading frame encoding a 69-kDa protein. When the cDNA was transfected into COS and NIH 3T3 cells, the antigen was found on the cell surface and could be released by treatment with phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C. The 69-kDa precursor is processed to the 40-kDa form. The protein has been named mesothelin because it is made by mesothelial cells. Mesothelin may play a role in cellular adhesion.

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