The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2009 Feb 6;284(6):3739-49. Epub 2008 Dec 15. [Link]

Kaneko O, Gong L, Zhang J, Hansen JK, Hassan R, Lee B, Ho M.

Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Ovarian cancer and malignant mesothelioma frequently express both mesothelin and CA125 (also known as MUC16) at high levels on the cell surface. The interaction between mesothelin and CA125 may facilitate the implantation and peritoneal spread of tumors by cell adhesion, whereas the detailed nature of this interaction is still unknown. Here, we used truncated mutagenesis and alanine replacement techniques to identify a binding site on mesothelin for CA125. We examined the molecular interaction by Western blot overlay assays and further quantitatively analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We also evaluated the binding on cancer cells by flow cytometry. We identified the region (296-359) consisting of 64 amino acids at the N-terminal of cell surface mesothelin as the minimum fragment for complete binding activity to CA125. We found that substitution of tyrosine 318 with an alanine abolished CA125 binding. Replacement of tryptophan 321 and glutamic acid 324 with alanine could partially decrease binding to CA125, whereas mutation of histidine 354 had no effect. These results indicate that a conformation-sensitive structure of the region (296-359) is required and sufficient for the binding of mesothelin to CA125. In addition, we have shown that a single chain monoclonal antibody (SS1) recognizes this CA125-binding domain and blocks the mesothelin-CA125 interaction on cancer cells. The identified CA125-binding domain significantly inhibits cancer cell adhesion and merits evaluation as a new therapeutic agent for preventing or treating peritoneal malignant tumors.