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Cloning and expression of the gene for the melanoma-associated ME20 antigen.

Maresh G.A., Marken J.S., Neubauer M., Aruffo A., Hellstroem I., Hellstroem K.E., Marquardt H.

Human melanoma cells, but not tumor cells of other histological origin, express a unique membrane-associated glycoprotein, designated ME20-M, and secrete a soluble glycoprotein, designated ME20-S, defined by monoclonal antibody ME20. Here we report the isolation and characterization of a cDNA clone that when transfected into COS cells directs the expression of ME20-M and ME20-S. This cDNA contains an open reading frame which encodes a 661-amino-acid-long precursor that contains a 23-amino-acid signal peptide and a 26-amino-acid transmembrane domain, separated by a hydrophilic region containing 5 potential Asn-linked and 14 predicted Pro-associated, Thr-linked glycosylation sites. The transmembrane domain is followed by a carboxy-terminal 45-amino-acid putative intracellular domain rich in Ser residues. Analysis of ME20-M by amino acid sequencing identified the proteolytic processing site. Signal peptide cleavage occurs at the Thr-24-Lys-25 peptide bond of the precursor and results in the 637-amino-acid ME20-M with a calculated molecular weight of 67,782. ME20-M is derived from a single 3.3-to 3.4-kb mRNA transcript that is expressed at varying levels in melanoma cell lines, correlating with immunofluorescence determination of protein expression. The amino acid sequence of the ME20 antigen deduced from the cDNA differs from the human neonatal melanocyte-specific Pmel 17 gene product by a single amino acid substitution and deletion of 7 amino acid residues, and it is 80% homologous with the bovine retinal pigment RPE1 cDNA.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

DNA Cell Biol. 13:87-95(1994) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]