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Eur J Biochem. 2001 Aug;268(16):4408-13.

Characterization of PSA-RP2, a protein related to prostate-specific antigen and encoded by alternative hKLK3 transcripts.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Enzymologie et Chimie des Protéines, EMI-U 0010, Université F. Rabelais, Tours, France.


Despite the wide use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) as a marker of prostate cancer, analysis of its gene products has not yet been completed. The structure of two alternative mRNAs (0.9 and 1.65 kb) of the hKLK3 gene that retain the third intron is reported here. These partially spliced transcripts were detected by hybridization or RT-PCR in normal prostate tissue, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and cancerous prostate tissues, and also in the prostate LNCaP cell line. Insertion of the unspliced intron creates an in-frame stop codon and results in a truncated prepro PSA variant of 180 amino-acid residues. This novel variant, designated PSA-RP2, has an alternate C-terminal tail and lacks the serine residue essential for the catalytic activity of PSA. Prepro PSA-RP2 was transiently produced in COS-7 cells and detected in the spent medium using an anti-PSA serum. Secreted PSA-RP2 was glycosylated with an apparent molecular mass of 25 kDa. Our findings suggest that PSA-RP2 contributes to the molecular heterogeneity of free-PSA in the serum of patients with benign or malignant prostate tumors.

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