A murine cell surface, disulfide-linked 85kDa dimer, defined with murine mAb A1, is expressed at high levels on EL-4 cells, but at low levels on normal C57BL/6 T cells. A similar structure is recognized by the rat mAbs YE1/32 and YE1/48. We isolated a cDNA clone encoding the antigen recognized by mAb A1 by immunoselection of a cDNA library in the eukaryotic expression vector CDM8. COS 7.2 cells transfected with this cDNA clone expressed an mAb A1-reactive 85 kDa disulfide-linked dimer with 44 kDa subunits, which was also reactive with the mAbs YE1/32 and YE1/48. The A1 gene displayed extensive strain polymorphism, underwent no rearrangement in EL-4, and hybridized with multiple restriction fragments, suggesting that it is a member of a multi-gene family. The deduced polypeptide contained 262 residues with an m.w. of 30,648, multiple cysteines, and three potential N-linked glycosylation sites, consistent with previous observations. In contrast to most integral membrane proteins, the putative A1 protein had features of a type II integral membrane protein structure, with its carboxyl terminus exposed extracellularly and an intracytoplasmic amino terminus. There was significant homology with several type II integral membrane proteins, including the human and chicken asialoglycoprotein receptors, and especially the human low affinity Fc epsilon receptor, in the putative extracellular domains of these proteins. This analysis suggested that the A1 gene belongs to a novel supergene family of type II integral membrane proteins and suggested that the A1 protein itself may be involved in binding a soluble ligand such as carbohydrates or immunoglobulin.

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