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Gene. 2001 Jan 10;262(1-2):35-41.

Cloning of the human homologue of the metastasis-associated rat C4.4A.

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Department of Tumor Progression and Immune Defense, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, D-69120, Heidelberg, Germany.


We have previously described a rat metastasis-associated molecule, C4.4A, which has some common features with the uPAR. Because of its restricted expression in non-transformed tissues a search for the human homologue became of interest. Human C4.4A was cloned from a placental cDNA library. As in the rat, the human uPAR and the human C4.4A genes appear to belong to the same family. Both genes are located on chromosome 19q13.1-q13.2 and both molecules have a glycolipid anchor site and are composed of three extracellular domains. Only domains one and two of the human C4.4A and the uPAR protein show a significant degree of identity. Expression of the human C4.4A was observed by RT-PCR and Northern blotting in placental tissue, skin, esophagus and peripheral blood leukocytes, but not in brain, lung, liver, kidney, stomach, colon and lymphoid organs. Yet, tumors derived from the latter tissues frequently contained C4.4A mRNA. As demonstrated for malignant melanoma, C4.4A mRNA expression correlated with tumor progression. While nevi were negative and only a minority of primary malignant melanoma expressed C4.4A, all metastases were C4.4A-positive. Taking into account the high degree of homology between rat and human C4.4A, the conformity of the expression profiles and the association of rat C4.4A with tumor progression, human C4.4A might well become a prognostic marker and possibly a target of therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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