Functional human carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)-like genes have been shown to be present in the mouse. Southern analyses of murine DNA using both human and murine CEA complementary DNA probes have revealed the presence of multiple CEA-like genes, while analyses of RNA from different mouse tissues showed CEA-like transcripts in adult colon and liver. Furthermore, a CEA-like protein, immunoprecipitable with a rabbit polyclonal serum raised against human CEA, has been detected in adult murine colon tissue. Several murine CEA complementary DNA clones have been isolated from a murine colon complementary DNA library, and characterization of one such clone demonstrates that both the N-terminal and the internal domains have been conserved between the two species. The existence of a murine counterpart of CEA strengthens the case for an essential function for this human tumor marker and provides an experimentally amenable system for elucidation of its biological properties.
This work was supported by grants to C. P. S., J. B., and A. F. from the Medical Research Council of Canada and the National Cancer Institute of Canada.