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EMBO J. 1991 Feb;10(2):343-8.

The hematopoietic and epithelial forms of CD44 are distinct polypeptides with different adhesion potentials for hyaluronate-bearing cells.

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Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.


CD44 is a polymorphic integral membrane protein which recognizes hyaluronate and whose proposed roles encompass lymphocyte activation, matrix adhesion and the attachment of lymphocytes to lymph node high endothelial venules (HEVs). Immunochemical and RNA blot data have supported the existence of two forms of CD44: a hematopoietic form expressed by cells of mesodermal origin (and by some carcinoma cell lines) and an epithelial form weakly expressed by normal epithelium but highly expressed by carcinomas. This report describes the isolation of a cDNA encoding a distinct CD44 polypeptide expressed by epithelial cells. Re-expression of each form of CD44 in a B cell line allowed cells transfected with the hematopoietic but not the epithelial form to bind to viable rat lymph node HEV cells in primary culture.

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