Porcine BM88 is a neuron-specific protein that enhances neuroblastoma cell differentiation in vitro and may be involved in neuronal differentiation in vivo. Here we report the identification, by Western blotting, of homologous proteins in human and mouse brain and the isolation of their respective cDNAs. Several human and mouse clones were identified in the EST database using porcine BM88 cDNA as a query. A human and a mouse EST clone were chosen for sequencing and were found both to predict a protein of 149 amino acids, with 79.9% reciprocal identity, and 76.4% and 70.7% identities to the porcine protein, respectively. This indicated that the clones corresponded to the human and mouse BM88homologues. In vitro expression in a cell-free system as well as transient expression in COS7 cells yielded polypeptide products that were recognized by anti-BM88 antibodies and were identical in size to the native BM88 protein. Northern-blot analysis showed a wide distribution of the gene in human brain whereas immunohistochemistry on human brain sections demonstrated that the expression of BM88 is confined to neurons. The initial mapping assignment of human BM88 to chromosome 11p15.5, a region implicated in Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome and tumorigenesis, was retrieved from the UniGene database maintained at the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI, Bethesda, MD, U.S.A.). We confirmed this localization by performing fluorescence in situ hybridization on BM88-positive cosmid clones isolated from a human genomic library. These results suggest that BM88 may be a candidate gene for genetic disorders associated with alterations at 11p15.5.
Sequence data for the human and mouse BM88 cDNAs have been deposited in the EMBL/GenBank Nucleotide Sequence Databases under accession numbers AF235030 and AF243130, respectively.