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Immunity. 1999 Jun;10(6):691-700.

The molecular characterization of the fetal stem cell marker AA4.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, New Jersey 08544, USA.


We have identified and characterized the stem cell antigen AA4. This molecule is a type I transmembrane protein whose overall structure suggests a role in cell adhesion. During fetal ontogeny (days 9-14 of development), AA4 is expressed in three major cell types: vascular endothelial cells, aorta-associated hematopoietic clusters, and primitive fetal liver hematopoietic progenitors. In the adult, AA4 is abundant in lung, heart, and whole bone marrow. In the adult hematopoietic compartment, aa4 transcripts are present in bone marrow CD34(-/lo) Lin- Sca-1+ c-Kit+ and CD34hi Lin- Sca-1+ c-Kit+ stem and progenitor cell subsets. Our observations suggest that AA4 plays a role in cell-cell interactions during hematopoietic and vascular development.

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