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Biochem J. 1998 Feb 15;330 ( Pt 1):163-8.

Molecular cloning of a murine homologue of membrane cofactor protein (CD46): preferential expression in testicular germ cells.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases, Higashinari-ku, Osaka 537, Japan.


Human membrane cofactor protein (MCP, CD46) has been suggested, although no convincing evidence has been proposed, to be a fertilization-associated protein, in addition to its primary functions as a complement regulator and a measles virus receptor. We have cloned a cDNA encoding the murine homologue of MCP. This cDNA showed 45% identity in deduced protein sequence and 62% identity in nucleotide sequence with human MCP. Its ectodomains were four short consensus repeats and a serine/threonine-rich domain, and it appeared to be a type 1 membrane protein with a 23-amino acid transmembrane domain and a short cytoplasmic tail. The protein expressed on Chinese hamster ovary cell transfectants was 47 kDa on SDS/PAGE immunoblotting, approximately 6 kDa larger than the murine testis MCP. It served as a cofactor for factor I-mediated inactivation of the complement protein C3b in a homologous system and, to a lesser extent, in a human system. Strikingly, the major message of murine MCP was 1.5 kb and was expressed predominantly in the testis. It was not detected in mice defective in spermatogenesis or with immature germ cells (until 23 days old). Thus, murine MCP may be a sperm-dominant protein the message of which is expressed selectively in spermatids during germ-cell differentiation.

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