The human metastatic tumor cell line CAP-2, produces a soluble factor that induces resistance to NK lysis of K-562 susceptible leukemia cell line, and does not inhibit the cytotoxic capacity of effector cells. The use of sequential HPLC, hydrophobic interaction chromatography, and reverse phase chromatography, coupled with cytotoxic assays, resulted in the isolation and separation to homogeneity of a novel protein responsible for this biologic activity. Size estimation studies based on TSK HPLC columns showed that this protein has a mass of 8 to 12 kDa. The amino acid composition analysis of the CAP-2 protein calculated from HPLC chromatograms shows that this protein contains around 108 amino acids. Subsequent gas phase sequence analysis, however, was hampered because the N terminus of this protein was blocked and therefore unsuitable for sequencing by Edman degradation. The functional studies showed that the NK lysis-resistance activity of the CAP-2 protein is mediated by interaction with and nonspecific binding to NK target cells. The lymphokine-activated killer and macrophage-mediated cytotoxicity and mitogen-induced proliferation is not affected. Unexpectedly, the CAP-2 protein appears to be mitogenic to its own cell line. Thus, the induction of NK lysis-resistance and the mitogenic activity showed by CAP-2 protein could contribute to the tumor growth and metastatic establishment.

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