Eades-Perner, Anne-Marie; Putten, Herman van der; Hirth, Antje; Thompson, John A.; Neumaier, Michael; Kleist, Sabine von; Zimmermann, Wolfgang
Mice Transgenic for the Human Carcinoembryonic Antigen Gene Maintain Its Spatiotemporal Expression Pattern.
In: Cancer Research, Vol. 54, No. 15: pp. 4169-4176
The tumor marker carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is predominantly expressed in epithelial cells along the gastrointestinal tract and in a variety of adenocarcinomas. As a basis for investigating its in vivo regulation and for establishing an animal model for tumor immunotherapy, transgenic mice were generated with a 33-kilobase cosmid clone insert containing the complete human CEA gene and flanking sequences. CEA was found in the tongue, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, cecum, colon, and trachea and at low levels in the lung, testis, and uterus of adult mice of independent transgenic strains. CEA was first detected at day 10.5 of embryonic development (embryonic day 10.5) in primary trophoblast giant cells and was found in the developing gut, urethra, trachea, lung, and nucleus pulposus of the vertebral column from embryonic day 14.5 onwards. From embryonic day 16.5 CEA was also visible in the nasal mucosa and tongue. Because this spatiotemporal expression pattern correlates well with that known for humans, it follows that the transferred genomic region contains all of the regulatory elements required for the correct expression of CEA. Furthermore, although mice apparently lack an endogenous CEA gene, the entire repertoire of transcription factors necessary for correct expression of the CEA transgene is conserved between mice and humans. After tumor induction, these immunocompetent mice will serve as a model for optimizing various forms of immunotherapy, using CEA as a target antigen.