A membrane-associated glycoprotein fraction, referred to as CEA-M was isolated from human colonic tumor tissue by sodium dodecyl sulfate extraction of membrane fragments followed by wheat germ agglutinin affinity chromatography, Bio-Gel A-1.5 gel filtration and preparative slab gel electrophoresis. With a m.w. of approximately 200,000, isoelectric point of about 4.2 and carbohydrate:protein ratio of 2:1, this glycoprotein has physiocochemical and antigenic similarities to carcinoembryonic antigen, CEA. Immunochemical studies have shown that antiserum developed for this glycoprotein possesses relative specificity for human colonic carcinomas.

Chemical cleavage of this glycoprotein by 2-nitro-5-thiocyanobenzoic acid resulted in three major Coomassie Blue and two periodic acid Schiff stainable fragments (one of which stains with both). It was found that one of the glycopeptides, labeled as TA, isolated by affinity and covalent chromatography, contained 77% carbohydrates and possessed antigenic determinants recognized by at least 70% of the antibody population raised against the total glycoprotein fraction; purified antibodies to this region of the molecule seem promising for the development of a specific assay for gastrointestinal tumors.

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This work was supported by Contract NO1-CB-43859 from the National Cancer Institute.

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