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J Biol Chem. 2003 Mar 7;278(10):8586-96. Epub 2003 Jan 3.

Characterization of prominin-2, a new member of the prominin family of pentaspan membrane glycoproteins.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstrasse 108, D-01307 Dresden, Germany.


Prominin/CD133 is a 115/120-kDa integral membrane glycoprotein specifically associated with plasma membrane protrusions in epithelial and non-epithelial cells including neuroepithelial and hematopoietic stem cells. Here we report the identification as well as molecular and cell biological characterization of mouse, rat, and human prominin-2, a 112-kDa glycoprotein structurally related to prominin (referred to as prominin-1). Although the amino acid identity between prominin-2 and prominin-1 is low (<30%), their genomic organization is strikingly similar, suggesting an early gene duplication event. Like prominin-1, prominin-2 exhibits a characteristic membrane topology with five transmembrane segments and two large glycosylated extracellular loops. Upon its ectopic expression in Chinese hamster ovary cells as a green fluorescent protein fusion chimera, prominin-2 was also found to be associated with plasma membrane protrusions, as revealed by its co-localization with prominin-1, suggesting a related role. Consistent with this, prominin-2 shows a similar tissue distribution to prominin-1, being highly expressed in the adult kidney and detected all along the digestive tract as well as in various other epithelial tissues. However, in contrast to prominin-1, prominin-2 was not detected in the eye, which perhaps explains why a loss-of function mutation in the human prominin-1 gene causes retinal degeneration but no other obvious pathological signs. Finally, we present evidence for the existence of a family of pentaspan membrane proteins, the prominins, which are conserved in evolution.

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