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Genomics. 2000 Nov 1;69(3):331-41.

KLK12 is a novel serine protease and a new member of the human kallikrein gene family-differential expression in breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1X5, Canada.


Kallikreins are a subgroup of serine proteases that are involved in the posttranslational processing of polypeptide precursors. Growing evidence suggests that many kallikreins are implicated in carcinogenesis. In rodents, kallikreins are encoded by a large multigene family, but in humans, only three genes have been identified. By using the positional candidate approach, we were able to identify a new kallikrein-like gene, tentatively named KLK12 (for kallikrein gene 12). This new gene maps to chromosome 19q13.3-q13.4, is formed of five coding exons, and shows structural similarity to serine proteases and other known kallikreins. KLK12 is expressed in a variety of tissues including salivary gland, stomach, uterus, lung, thymus, prostate, colon, brain, breast, thyroid, and trachea. We identified three splicing forms of KLK12 that are expressed in many tissues. Our preliminary results indicate that the expression of KLK12 is down-regulated at the mRNA level in breast cancer tissues and is up-regulated by steroid hormones in breast and prostate cancer cell lines. This gene may be involved in the pathogenesis and/or progression of certain cancer types and may find applicability as a novel cancer biomarker.

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