Enhanced Expression and Secretion of an Epithelial Membrane Antigen (MA5) in a Human Mucinous Breast Tumor Line (BT549)
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The mouse monoclonal antibody MA5, generated versus a membrane-enriched extract of breast cancer metastatic to liver, detects one or two high molecular weight species (greater than 200 kD) in breast tumor membranes, human milk fat globule membranes, and various breast tumor cell lines. From comparative studies of five breast carcinoma lines (BT20, BT549, MCF-7, T47D, and ZR75-1), as well as an epithelial line established from milk (HBL-100), we report the stimulation of expression of MA5-reactive antigen in a mucinous breast tumor cell line (BT549) through the use of a culture medium supplemented with charcoal-absorbed fetal calf serum, insulin, and hydrocortisone. Large amounts of aggregated MA5-reactive antigen are secreted into the culture medium and can be recovered from the media for further purification by centrifugation. These findings suggest that BT549 cells, grown in the special nutritive medium, may be useful in providing an ample source of epithelial membrane antigen (also termed polymorphic epithelial mucin) for standardization of clinical assay protocols, as well as provide a model system for studies of the regulation of expression for this class of antigens in breast carcinoma.