The glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored C4.4A was originally identified as a metastasis-associated protein by differential screening of rat pancreatic carcinoma cell lines. C4.4A is accordingly expressed in various human carcinoma lesions. Although C4.4A is a structural homolog of the urokinase receptor (uPAR), which is implicated in cancer invasion and metastasis, no function has so far been assigned to C4.4A. To assist future studies on its function in both physiological and pathophysiological conditions, the present study provide a global survey on C4.4A expression in the normal mouse by a comprehensive immunohistochemical mapping. This task was accomplished by staining paraffin-embedded tissues with a specific rabbit polyclonal anti-C4.4A antibody. In the adult mouse, C4.4A was predominantly expressed in the suprabasal layers of the squamous epithelia of the oral cavity, esophagus, non-glandular portion of the rodent stomach, anus, vagina, cornea, and skin. This epithelial confinement was particularly evident from the abrupt termination of C4.4A expression at the squamo-columnar transition zones found at the ano-rectal and utero-vaginal junctions, for example. During mouse embryogenesis, C4.4A expression first appears in the developing squamous epithelium at embryonic day 13.5. This anatomical location of C4.4A is thus concordant with a possible functional role in early differentiation of stratified squamous epithelia.
Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry, 2011, Vol 59, Issue 2, p. 188-201