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Br J Cancer. 1997;76(12):1562-6.

Transcription of the gene encoding melanoma-associated antigen gp100 in tissues and cell lines other than those of the melanocytic lineage.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Oncology, University Hospital Leiden, The Netherlands.


The expression of the gp100 antigen is generally thought to be confined to cells of the melanocytic lineage, which makes the protein a suitable melanoma-specific marker. Strikingly, after screening a panel of normal tissues, tumour samples and cell lines of non-melanocytic origin, we found transcripts encoding gp100 in virtually every tissue and cell line tested. In contrast, tyrosinase and MART-1/MelanA transcripts were detected only in cells of the melanocytic lineage. However, no gp100 protein could be detected by either Western blotting or cytotoxicity assays. Therefore, at the protein level, gp100 remains exclusive for cells of melanocytic origin despite its transcription in many cell types. The major implication of this finding is that screening of patient material for gp100 expression should preferrably be performed by antibody staining. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) can be employed, provided that it is performed in a tightly controlled, semiquantitative setting.

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