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Placenta. 1997 Sep;18(7):491-501.

Highly specific monoclonal antibody demonstrates that pregnancy-specific glycoprotein (PSG) is limited to syncytiotrophoblast in human early and term placenta.

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Department of Immunology, Umeå University, Sweden.


Pregnancy specific glycoproteins (PSG) in humans constitute a family of 11 closely related glycoproteins (PSG1-8, PSG11-13) of unknown function(s), which are produced in large amounts by the placenta. As a step toward understanding the biology of PSG, specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against PSG were developed and used to investigate the ultrastructural localization of PSG in the early and term placenta and in first trimester decidua. One mAb, BAP-3, was found to react with all six individually expressed PSGs representing five alternatively spliced forms, but not with any of the seven expressed members of the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) subfamily. The BAP-3 epitope is located in the PSG B2 domain. Using the BAP-3 mAb, PSGs were found to be expressed exclusively by the syncytiotrophoblast of first trimester and term villi. The intensity of the staining was much higher in early than in term placenta. All three main cellular compartments involved in the biosynthesis pathway of secreted proteins, i.e. rough endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi complex and secretory vesicles, were stained for PSG. A second PSG-reactive mAb, BAP-1, also stained the apical plasma membrane of some glandular epithelial cells in first trimester decidua in addition to syncytiotrophoblast. This staining was most likely due to cross-reactivity with biliary glycoprotein (BGP).

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