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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Apr 11;92(8):3147-51.

A serine proteinase inhibitor locus at 18q21.3 contains a tandem duplication of the human squamous cell carcinoma antigen gene.

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Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) is a member of the ovalbumin family of serine proteinase inhibitors (serpins). A neutral form of the protein is found in normal and some malignant squamous cells, whereas an acidic form is detected exclusively in tumor cells and in the circulation of patients with squamous cell tumors. In this report, we describe the cloning of the SCCA gene from normal genomic DNA. Surprisingly, two genes were found. They were tandemly arrayed and flanked by two other closely related serpins, plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2 (PAI2) and maspin at 18q21.3. The genomic structure of the two genes, SCCA1 and SCCA2, was highly conserved. The predicted amino acid sequences were 92% identical and suggested that the neutral form of the protein was encoded by SCCA1 and the acidic form was encoded by SCCA2. Further characterization of the region should determine whether the differential expression of the SCCA genes plays a causal role in development of more aggressive squamous cell carcinomas.

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