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Oncogene. 1997 Jun 5;14(22):2729-33.

Cloning of a gene highly overexpressed in cancer coding for a novel KH-domain containing protein.

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Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Ulm, Germany.


In a previous large scale screen for differentially expressed genes in pancreatic cancer, we identified a gene highly overexpressed in cancer encoding a novel protein with four K-homologous (KH) domains. KH-domains are found in a subset of RNA-binding proteins, including pre-mRNA-binding (hnRNP) K protein and the fragile X mental retardation gene product (FMR1). By fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) the identified gene named koc (KH domain containing protein overexpressed in cancer) was assigned to chromosome 7p11.5. Two pseudogenes were localised on chromosome 6 and 11. The cloned koc cDNA has a 250 bp 5'-UTR, a 1740 bp ORF and a 2168 bp 3'-UTR. The AU-rich 3'-untranslated region of koc contains eight AUUUA and four AUUUUUA reiterated motifs. The deduced koc protein with 580 amino-acids has a relative molecular mass (Mr) of approximately 65,000 (65 K). The koc transcript is highly overexpressed in pancreatic cancer cell lines and in pancreatic cancer tissue as compared to both, normal pancreas and chronic pancreatitis tissue. High levels of expression were as well found in tissue samples of other human tumours. As the KH domain has been shown to be involved in the regulation of RNA synthesis and metabolism, we speculate that koc may assume a role in the regulation of tumour cell proliferation by interfering with transcriptional and or posttranscriptional processes. However, the precise role of koc in human tumour cells is unknown and remains to be elucidated.

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