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Blood. 1998 Jun 1;91(11):4282-91.

A directly spliced exon 10-containing CD44 variant promotes the metastasis and homotypic aggregation of aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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  • 1Division of Hematologic Malignancies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Variants of the CD44 cell-surface adhesion molecule include additional sequences encoded by combinations of exons from the membrane proximal domain (exons 6-14). Preliminary studies suggest that these additional variable membrane proximal sequences may alter the ligand specificity, glycosylation, and biologic function of CD44. In earlier studies, we found that primary extranodal and widely disseminated aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs) and normal activated B cells expressed a directly spliced exon 10-containing variant (CD44ex10), whereas normal resting B cells expressed larger exon 10-containing variants (CD44ex10-14 and CD44ex7-14). To obtain additional information regarding the function of exon 10-containing CD44 variants in aggressive NHL, we generated aggressive NHL transfectants that expressed CD44ex10, CD44ex10-14, CD44ex7-14, the standard CD44 isoform (CD44H), or vector alone, and evaluated the local tumorogenicity, aggregation, and metastatic potential of these transfectants. CD44ex10 aggressive NHL transfectants were more likely to cause local tumor formation in nude mice than transfectants expressing the larger exon 10-containing variants, CD44H, or vector alone. In addition, cell suspensions derived from CD44ex10 local tumors exhibited far greater homotypic aggregation than those obtained from other CD44 or vector-only local tumors. In nude mice that received CD44ex10 transfectants, distant metastases were also significantly more likely to develop than in animals that were given either the CD44ex10-14, CD44ex7-14, CD44H, or vector-only transfectants. These data provide the first evidence that the directly spliced exon 10-containing CD44 variant (CD44ex10) has a unique biologic function in aggressive NHL.

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