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Kodelja, Vitam; Lucas, Kurt; Barnert, Sabine; Kleist, Sabine von; Thompson, John A.; Zimmermann, Wolfgang (1989): Identification of a Carcinoembryonic Antigen Gene Family in the Rat. Analysis Of The N-Terminal Domains Reveals Immunoglobulin-Like,Hypervariable Regions. In: The Journal Of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 264, No. 12: pp. 6906-6912


The existence of a carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)-like gene family in rat has been demonstrated through isolation and sequencing of the N- terminal domain exons of presumably five discrete genes (rnCGM1-5). This finding will allow for the first time the study of functional and clinical aspects of the tumor marker CEA and related antigens in an animal model. Sequence comparison with the corresponding regions of members of the human CEA gene family revealed a relatively low similarity at the amino acid level, which indicates rapid divergence of the CEA gene family during evolution and explains the lack of cross- reactivity of rat CEA-like antigens with antibodies directed against human CEA. The N-terminal domains of the rat CEA-like proteins show structural similarity to immunoglobulin variable domains, including the presence of hypervariable regions, which points to a possible receptor function of the CEA family members. Although so far only one of the five rat CEA-like genes could be shown to be transcriptionally active, multiple mRNA species derived from other members of the rat CEA-like gene family have been found to be differentially expressed in rat placenta and liver.