Recognition of Transmembrane Protein 39A as a Tumor-Specific Marker in Brain Tumor

Jisoo Park, Hyunji Lee, Quangdon Tran, Kisun Mun, Dohoon Kim, Youngeun Hong, So Hee Kwon, Derek Brazil, Jongsun Park, Seon-Hwan Kim

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Transmembrane protein 39A (TMEM39A) belongs to the TMEM39 family. TMEM39A gene is a susceptibility locus for multiple sclerosis. In addition, TMEM39A seems to be implicated in systemic lupus erythematosus. However, any possible involvement of TMEM39A in cancer remains largely unknown. In the present report, we provide evidence that TMEM39A may play a role in brain tumors. Western blotting using an anti-TMEM39A antibody indicated that TMEM39A was overexpressed in glioblastoma cell lines, including U87-MG and U251-MG. Deep-sequencing transcriptomic profiling of U87-MG and U251-MG cells revealed that TMEM39A transcripts were upregulated in such cells compared with those of the cerebral cortex. Confocal microscopic analysis of U251-MG cells stained with anti-TMEM39A antibody showed that TMEM39A was located in dot-like structures lying close to the nucleus. TMEM39A probably located to mitochondria or to endosomes. Immunohistochemical analysis of glioma tissue specimens indicated that TMEM39A was markedly upregulated in such samples. Bioinformatic analysis of the Rembrandt knowledge base also supported upregulation of TMEM39A mRNA levels in glioma patients. Together, the results afford strong evidence that TMEM39A is upregulated in glioma cell lines and glioma tissue specimens. Therefore, TMEM39A may serve as a novel diagnostic marker of, and a therapeutic target for, gliomas and other cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalToxicological research
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


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