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Oncogene. 1993 Oct;8(10):2869-72.

Expression of the leukemia-associated gene, p18, in normal and malignant tissues; inactivation of expression in a patient with cleaved B cell lymphoma/leukemia.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Yale Medical School, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.


p18 is a well conserved gene coding for an 18 kDa cytosolic phosphoprotein. Although the function of p18 is unknown, it is suspected of playing a role in regulation of cell proliferation or the proliferation-differentiation switch. Here we have found p18 mRNA expression highest in testis, brain, thymus and a multipotent hematopoietic stem cell line and lowest in liver. p18 was also expressed vigorously in all but one of 85 diverse tumor cell lines and primary human malignant specimens examined. In five primary tumors, expression was substantially elevated with respect to expression in contiguous normal tissue. Expression in chronic phase chronic myelogenous leukemia cells was far greater than in normal blood cells and increased with progression of disease. In liver material, the highest level of p18 was found in a primary hepatoblastoma, a stem cell tumor, whereas a benign adenoma demonstrated very low level expression. Cells from a cleaved B cell lymphoma/leukemia failed to express p18 whereas 18 specimens from other B lymphoid malignancies, including a second cleaved cell malignancy, expressed p18 at substantial levels. These data are consistent with p18 playing a role in control of cell proliferation in at least certain tissues. The questions arise if high level p18 expression in certain malignancies may play a primary role in driving cell proliferation or, based on chromosomal localization and inactivation of p18 expression in one lymphoma, if p18 may act as a tumor suppressor.

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