The Golgi protein RCAS1 controls cell surface expression of tumor-associated O-linked glycan antigens


  • A. Engelsberg
  • R. Hermosilla
  • U. Karsten
  • R. Schuelein
  • B. Doerken
  • A. Rehm


  • Journal of Biological Chemistry


  • J Biol Chem 278 (25): 22998-23007


  • Tumor immunology has received a large impetus from the identification of tumor-associated antigens. Among them, a monoclonal antibody, 22.1.1, was instrumental in defining a novel tumor-associated antigen that was termed "receptor binding cancer antigen expressed on SiSo cells" (RCAS1). RCAS1 was proposed to induce growth arrest and apoptosis on activated immune cells, mediated by a putative death receptor. Structurally, RCAS1 was predicted to exist as a type II transmembrane protein and in a soluble form. Here, we analyzed occurrence, membrane topology, and subcellular localization of the RCAS1-encoded gene product. RCAS1 was shown to be a ubiquitously expressed type III transmembrane protein with a Golgi-predominant localization. Monoclonal antibody 22.1.1 failed to recognize RCAS1, as demonstrated by confocal microscopy. Instead, we showed that the cognate 22.1.1 epitope is identical with the tumor-associated O-linked glycan Tn (N-acetyl-D-galactosamine, GalNAc). Overexpression of RCAS1 in cell lines that are negative for 22.1.1 surface staining led to the generation of Tn and the closely related TF (Thomsen-Friedenreich, Gal{beta}1-3GalNAc) antigen, thus providing a functional link to the generation of the 22.1.1 epitope. We suggest that RCAS1 modulates surface expression of tumor-associated, normally cryptic O-linked glycan structures and contributes indirectly to the antigenicity of tumor cells.