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Three functional soluble forms of the human apoptosis-inducing Fas molecule are produced by alternative splicing.

Cascino I., Fiucci G., Papoff G., Ruberti G.

Fas/Apo-1 molecule is an apoptosis-signaling cell surface Ag belonging to the TNFR family. To investigate the possibility that soluble forms of the Fas receptor are expressed in human cells, we analyzed Fas mRNA transcripts obtained from activated peripheral mononuclear cells of healthy donors and from human tumor cell lines. We identified and characterized three human mRNA Fas variants: FasTMDel, FasDel2, and FasDel3. To determine whether the three transcripts were derived by alternative splicing, the Fas genomic intron/exon organization of the regions surrounding the deleted sequences was analyzed in Fas clones isolated from a human genomic library. Expression of the transcripts was studied in COS cells transiently transfected with the FasTMDel, FasDel2, and FasDel3 cDNAs. Immunocytochemical and in vitro apoptosis inhibition studies suggest that the transcripts are expressed as soluble Fas proteins that may play a functional role in the regulation of apoptosis.

J. Immunol. 154:2706-2713(1995) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]