Production and characterization of murine mAbs to the extracellular domain of human neu oncogene product gp185(HER2)

G. Digiesi, P. Giacomini, R. Fraioli, M. Mariani, M. R. Nicotra, O. Segatto, P. G. Natali

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The oncogene HER-2/neu encodes a transmembrane glycoprotein of 185 kDa (gp185(HER-2)) with tyrosine-kinase activity. Gene amplification and high levels of expression of gp185(HER-2) have been found to correlate with poor clinical outcome in breast and ovarian carcinomas. Employing a somatic cell hybrid fusion protocol, which yields a high frequency production of hybridomas, we have analyzed the extent of the murine immune response to the gp 185 extracellular domain. In a single fusion experiment, using as immunogen NIH 3T3 cells expressing high levels of a transfected human HER-2 gene, we have generated mAbs, mainly of IgG1 isotype, displaying high affinity (107-1010 mol/L) to gp 185. Analysis of the epitope specificity has allowed the identification of five distinct groups of spatially related epitopes, each provided with different immunodominancy, and all resistant to formalin fixation. The use of inhibitor of N-linked glycosylation tunicamicyn has demonstrated that the mAbs bind to epitopes localized in the protein core of gp185(HER-2). Because recent reports have shown that gp185(HER-2) has a restricted expression in normal tissues and is homogenously detectable in metastatic foci of gp 185 + primary tumors, antibodies to this macromolecule, in addition to their prognostic value, may represent reagents for in vitro and in vivo diagnostic applications, as well as for the development of therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-527
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Immunology


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