It was recently reported that the human CD109 gene encodes a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-anchored glycoprotein that is a member of the α2-macroglobulin/C3, C4, C5 family of thioester-containing proteins. In this study, we found that the expression of mouse CD109 gene was upregulated in NIH3T3 cells expressing RET tyrosine kinase with a multiple endocrine neoplasia 2B mutation. Northern blot analysis showed a high level of expression of the CD109 gene only in the testis in normal human and mouse tissues. In addition, its expression was high in some human tumor cell lines, which included squamous cell carcinoma and glioblastoma cell lines, whereas it was undetectable in neuroblastoma and small-cell lung carcinoma cell lines. When CD109 expression was examined in 33 cases of human lung cell carcinomas by quantitative RT-PCR, a significant high expression of CD109 was detected in about half of squamous cell carcinomas examined, but not in adenocarcinoma, large-cell carcinoma and small-cell carcinoma. Similarly, upregulation of CD109 was observed in nine out of 17 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas. Thus, these results suggested that CD109 might be a useful molecular target for the development of new therapeutics for malignant tumors, such as squamous cell carcinoma.
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