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Glioblastoma cells negative for the anti-CD133 antibody AC133 express a truncated variant of the CD133 protein

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The transmembrane glycoprotein CD133 is a marker commonly used for isolation and analysis of putative cancer stem-like cells. However, analysis of CD133 expression is potentially confounded by the fact that two of the commonly used anti-CD133 antibodies, AC133 and 293C, only recognize CD133 that has undergone glycosylation. Therefore, our aim was to thoroughly examine antibody recognition and mRNA expression of CD133 in glioblastoma multiforme. Glioblastoma cell lines and primary cultures obtained from resected tumor tissue were analyzed by real-time PCR, Western blot analysis, and flow cytometry for CD133, and immunofluorescence was used to determine cellular localization. The AC133 and 293C antibodies did not detect any CD133 on the surface of the glioblastoma cells despite the fact that a protein was detected using C24B9, an anti-CD133 antibody that recognizes an unglycosylated epitope. This CD133 variant was truncated (≈16 kDa) and, unlike typical expression of full-length CD133 protein, was found throughout the cytoplasm instead of localized to the plasma membrane. Levels of mRNA and protein for the variant increased with stress, indicating potential for it to be a functional molecule. Because AC133 and 293C antibodies do not detect all CD133 variants in glioblastoma cells, alternate detection methods need to be utilized for complete analysis of CD133 expression and for accurately determining the relationship between CD133 and cancer stem-like cells.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Wellington 6012, New Zealand

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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