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Cancer Res. 1988 Jun 1;48(11):2955-62.

Molecular cloning and characterization of an antigen associated with early stages of melanoma tumor progression.

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Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104.


The melanoma-associated antigen ME491 is expressed strongly during the early stages of tumor progression. The ME491 gene was molecularly cloned by means of DNA-mediated gene transfer followed by screening a lambda genomic library with human repetitive Alu sequences as a probe. The cloned DNA, after transfection into mouse L-cells, generated a protein with characteristics that were indistinguishable in Western blot analysis from the ME491 antigen expressed by human melanoma cells. Repeat-free subfragments of the cloned DNA were used for further studies. By Northern blot analysis, the subfragments detected a single 1.2-kilobase mRNA in the transformants and various human melanoma cell lines. ME491 complementary DNA clones were then obtained by probing a melanoma complementary DNA library with the genomic subfragments. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the cloned complementary DNA indicated that the ME491 antigen consists of 237 amino acids (Mr 25,475) with four transmembrane regions and three putative N-glycosylation sites. No significant structural homology was observed with other proteins thus far reported. We observed that the amounts of mRNA varied greatly with different melanoma cell lines. Southern blot analysis revealed no amplification or rearrangement of the ME491 gene in the human melanoma cell lines tested, including both high and low expressors of this antigen. The ME491 gene has been mapped to chromosome region 12p12----12q13 by somatic cell hybrid analysis and more narrowly localized to 12q12----12q14 by in situ hybridization.

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