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J Immunol. 2002 May 15;168(10):5139-46.

Carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 1 expression and signaling in human, mouse, and rat leukocytes: evidence for replacement of the short cytoplasmic domain isoform by glycosylphosphatidylinositol-linked proteins in human leukocytes.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Medical Nobel Institute, Karolinska Institutet, SE-17177 Stockholm, Sweden.


Carcinoembryonic Ag-related cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1), the primordial carcinoembryonic Ag gene family member, is a transmembrane cell adhesion molecule expressed in leukocytes, epithelia, and blood vessel endothelia in humans and rodents. As a result of differential splicing, CEACAM1 occurs as several isoforms, the two major ones being CEACAM1-L and CEACAM1-S, that have long (L) or short (S) cytoplasmic domains, respectively. The L:S expression ratios vary in different cells and tissues. In addition to CEACAM1, human but not rodent cells express GPI-linked CEACAM members (CEACAM5-CEACAM8). We compared the expression patterns of CEACAM1-L, CEACAM1-S, CEACAM6, and CEACAM8 in purified populations of neutrophilic granulocytes, B lymphocytes, and T lymphocytes from rats, mice, and humans. Human granulocytes expressed CEACAM1, CEACAM6, and CEACAM8, whereas human B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes expressed only CEACAM1 and CEACAM6. Whereas granulocytes, B cells, and T cells from mice and rats expressed both CEACAM1-L and CEACAM1-S in ratios of 2.2-2.9:1, CEACAM1-S expression was totally lacking in human granulocytes, B cells, and T cells. Human leukocytes only expressed the L isoforms of CEACAM1. This suggests that the GPI-linked CEACAM members have functionally replaced CEACAM1-S in human leukocytes. Support for the replacement hypothesis was obtained from experiments in which the extracellular signal-regulated kinases (Erk)1/2 were activated by anti-CEACAM Abs. Thus, Abs against CEACAM1 activated Erk1/2 in rat granulocytes, but not in human granulocytes. Erk1/2 in human granulocytes could, however, be activated by Abs against CEACAM8. We demonstrated that CEACAM1 and CEACAM8 are physically associated in human granulocytes. The CEACAM1/CEACAM8 complex in human cells might accordingly play a similar role as CEACAM1-L/CEACAM1-S dimers known to occur in rat cells.

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