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Gene. 2001 Mar 7;265(1-2):133-45.

Isolation and characterization of mouse MUC18 cDNA gene, and correlation of MUC18 expression in mouse melanoma cell lines with metastatic ability.

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Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, GA 30322, Atlanta, USA.


The cell surface adhesion molecule human MUC18 (huMUC18 or Mel-CAM) has been postulated to play a key pathogenic role in metastatic melanoma progression. To establish an immunocompetent syngeneic mouse model that would greatly facilitate our understanding of the role of MUC18 in the metastatic behavior of melanoma, we cloned and characterized the mouse MUC18 (muMUC18) cDNA gene. The gene was amplified by RT-PCR and RACE of the poly(A)+RNA isolated from the mouse melanoma cell line B16F10/Queens. The cloned muMUC18 cDNA gene contained 28 nucleotides of 5'-UTR, 908 nucleotides of 3'-UTR, and an open reading frame (ORF) of 1947 nucleotides encoding a protein of 648 amino acids, which is two amino acids longer than huMUC18. The size of the muMUC18 mRNA is about 3 kb with a shorter 3'-UTR than the huMUC18 mRNA (about 3.3 kb). Besides, the sequence in the 3' UTR of the two mRNAs is diverse with only 31% identity. The 5'-UTR and coding sequences of the muMUC18 cDNA are 72.4 and 80.6% identical to those of huMUC18, respectively. The deduced amino acid sequence of the muMUC18 cDNA is 76.2% identical to that of huMUC18. The amino acid sequences deduced from MUC18 cDNA sequences from six other mouse melanoma cell lines are identical except one to three residues, suggesting that the muMUC18 cDNA sequence determined in this report is correct. The muMUC18 protein is predicted to be slightly more acidic than the human protein. The levels of muMUC18 mRNA and protein in nine mouse melanoma cell lines were directly proportional to their ability to establish metastatic colonies in lungs of syngeneic mice. Most biological functions of the muMUC18 may be similar to the huMUC18.

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