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Frontiers of Medicine doi: 10.1007/s11684-022-0968-4

A systematic survey of LU domain-containing proteins reveals a novel human gene, , which encodes the candidate ortholog of mouse Ly-6A/Sca-1 and is aberrantly expressed in pituitary tumors

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The Ly-6 and uPAR (LU) domain-containing proteins represent a large family of cell-surface markers. In particular, mouse Ly-6A/Sca-1 is a widely used marker for various stem cells; however, its human ortholog is missing. In this study, based on a systematic survey and comparative genomic study of mouse and human LU domain-containing proteins, we identified a previously unannotated human gene encoding the candidate ortholog of mouse Ly-6A/Sca-1. This gene, hereby named LY6A, reversely overlaps with a lncRNA gene in the majority of exonic sequences. We found that LY6A is aberrantly expressed in pituitary tumors, but not in normal pituitary tissues, and may contribute to tumorigenesis. Similar to mouse Ly-6A/Sca-1, human LY6A is also upregulated by interferon, suggesting a conserved transcriptional regulatory mechanism between humans and mice. We cloned the full-length LY6A cDNA, whose encoded protein sequence, domain architecture, and exon‒intron structures are all well conserved with mouse Ly-6A/Sca-1. Ectopic expression of the LY6A protein in cells demonstrates that it acts the same as mouse Ly-6A/Sca-1 in their processing and glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchoring to the cell membrane. Collectively, these studies unveil a novel human gene encoding a candidate biomarker and provide an interesting model gene for studying gene regulatory and evolutionary mechanisms.

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