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BMC Cancer. 2005 May 17;5:47.

Reevaluation of the 22-1-1 antibody and its putative antigen, EBAG9/RCAS1, as a tumor marker.

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  • 1Department of Hematology, Oncology and Tumorimmunology, Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany.



Tumor-associated antigens are appreciated as diagnostic markers, but they have also prompted tremendous efforts to develop tumor-specific immunotherapy. A previously cloned tumor-associated antigen, EBAG9, was initially defined by reactivity with the monoclonal antibody 22-1-1. Functionally, the EBAG9-encoded gene-product was believed to induce apoptosis in activated immune cells. However, using a cell-biological approach we identified EBAG9 as a Golgi-resident modulator of O-linked glycan expression, the latter product was then recognized by the 22-1-1 antibody. Secondly, EBAG9 expression was found physiologically in all murine tissues examined. This raised the question if EBAG9 is tumor-specific and mediates apoptosis itself or through O-linked glycans generated, among them the cognate 22-1-1 antigen Tn.


We have used immunohistochemistry to detect the expression of 22-1-1 and EBAG9 in various tissues. Correlation between expression of both antigens in cell lines was analysed by immunoblot and flow cytometry. Apoptosis was studied by using flow cytometry and Caspase-Glo 3/7 assay kit. Cellular distribution of EBAG9 was analysed by electron and confocal microscopy.


Here, we compared expression of the 22-1-1 and EBAG9-defined antigens in normal and neoplastic tissues in situ. In contrast to 22-1-1 staining, EBAG9 is a ubiquitously expressed antigen in all normal and cancerous tissues. Functional studies on the role of 22-1-1 reactive material did not support any evidence for apoptosis induction. Employing electron and confocal microscopy, a refined subcellular localization of EBAG9 at the Golgi was obtained.


We suggest that the estrogen-inducible EBAG9 gene-product and the 22-1-1 defined antigen are structurally and functionally separate antigens.

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