The monoclonal antibody (mAb) 376.96 has been used for detection of micrometastatic tumor cells due to its high binding specificity for a wide range of tumor cells, but the identity and function of its target antigen have not been known. Here, using immunoprecipitation and siRNA technology, we demonstrate that the antigen is the human 4Ig-B7H3 (4Ig-hB7H3) protein, previously known as an immunoregulatory protein in immune cells. Immunoblots of whole cell lysates, subcellular fractionation and tunicamycin treatment of human tumor cells indicated that 4Ig-hB7H3 is a ∼100-kDa N-linked glycosylated membrane protein. The tumor promoter phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) enhanced the expression of 4Ig-hB7H3 in FEMX-I (melanoma), MA11 (breast cancer), and OHS (osteosarcoma) cells, suggesting that 4Ig-hB7H3 may be implicated in tumorigenesis. Most importantly, siRNA-downregulation of hB7H3 reduced cell adhesion to fibronectin of melanoma and breast cancer cells by up to 50 %, and migration and matrigel-invasion by more than 70 %, but surprisingly had no apparent impact on cell proliferation. In conclusion, our data present 4Ig-hB7H3 as a tumorassociated antigen and suggests a novel biological role of 4Ig-hB7H3 in tumor progression and metastasis.
Keywords: Tumor-associated antigen, 376.96 mAb, human B7H3, migration, invasion, adhesion, metastasis, tumor progression
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