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Gene. 1998 Feb 16;208(1):25-30.

Identification of a new tumour-associated antigen TM4SF5 and its expression in human cancer.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Ulm, Robert Koch Str. 8, 89081, Ulm, Germany.


In a previous large-scale screening for differentially expressed genes in pancreatic cancer, a gene was identified that was highly overexpressed in pancreatic cancer encoding a novel putative tetraspan transmembrane protein highly homologous to the tumour-associated antigen L6. Using a radiation hybrid panel the identified human gene named TM4SF5 (transmembrane 4 superfamily member 5) was localized to chromosome 17 in the region 17p13.3. The cloned TM4SF5 cDNA has a 32bp 5'-untranslated region (UTR), a 591bp open reading frame (ORF) and a 85bp 3'UTR. The predicted TM4SF5 protein with 197 amino acids contains three NH2-terminal hydrophobic transmembrane regions, followed by an extracellular hydrophilic domain containing two potential N-linked glycosylation sites and a COOH-terminal hydrophobic transmembrane region. These structural features are shared by the L6 antigen and a number of related cell surface proteins associated with cell growth. TM4SF5 was overexpressed in pancreatic cancer tissues as compared to both normal pancreas and chronic pancreatitis tissues, and was detected at high levels in other tumour tissues. Although the precise function of TM4SF5 remains to be elucidated it may be useful in a clinical setting for tumour diagnosis and/or therapy. This hypothesis is supported by the strong homology to the L6 antigen, which has proved promising in immunological, therapeutic and diagnostic approaches.

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