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J Biol Chem. 2004 Mar 5;279(10):9190-8. Epub 2003 Dec 15.

Binding of ovarian cancer antigen CA125/MUC16 to mesothelin mediates cell adhesion.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan.


Mesothelin is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-linked cell surface molecule expressed in the mesothelial lining of the body cavities and in many tumor cells. Based on the finding that a soluble form of mesothelin specifically binds to ovarian carcinoma cell line OVCAR-3, we isolated cDNAs encoding a mesothelin-binding protein by expression cloning. The polypeptides encoded by the two cloned cDNA fragments matched to portions of CA125, an ovarian cancer antigen and a giant mucin-like glycoprotein present at the surface of tumor cells. By flow cytometric analysis and immunoprecipitation, we demonstrate that CA125 binds to mesothelin in a specific manner. Binding of CA125 to membrane-bound mesothelin mediates heterotypic cell adhesion as anti-mesothelin antibody blocks binding of OVCAR-3 cells expressing CA125 to an endothelial-like cell line expressing mesothelin. Finally, we show that CA125 and mesothelin are co-expressed in advanced grade ovarian adenocarcinoma. Taken together, our data indicate that mesothelin is a novel CA125-binding protein and that CA125 might contribute to the metastasis of ovarian cancer to the peritoneum by initiating cell attachment to the mesothelial epithelium via binding to mesothelin.

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