URP1: A member of a novel family of PH and FERM domain-containing membrane-associated proteins is significantly over-expressed in lung and colon carcinomas

Edward J. Weinstein, Maureen Bourner, Richard Head, Hamideh Zakeri, Christopher Bauer, Richard Mazzarella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


In a concerted effort to identify biomarkers for lung and colon carcinomas by genome-wide transcriptional profiling, we describe the identification and cloning of one such gene as well as two additional closely related genes. Due to the strong sequence homology to the C. elegans UNC-112 we call this gene URP1, for UNC-112 related protein. We have also isolated the full-length clones for another novel related gene, URP2 and the previously discovered MIG-2 gene. Collectively, these proteins, together with two from Drosophila, appear to form a novel membrane-associated FERM and PH domain-containing protein family. Transcriptional analysis shows that only URP1 is significantly differentially regulated, being over-expressed in 70% of the colon carcinomas and 60% of the lung carcinomas tested. Quantification of URP1 expression by qRT-PCR showed up-regulation of the gene by 60-fold in lung tumors and up to nearly 6-fold in colon tumors. Northern blot analysis of URP1 indicates that normal expression is restricted to neuromuscular tissues. In contrast, the expression of URP2 appears to be confined primarily to tissues of the immune system. SNP analysis of URP1 reveals that it is highly polymorphic, containing seven sites, four of which are in the coding region and one position that results in the interchangeable substitution of glutamic acid and lysine. Finally, we have shown that the genomic structure for all three genes is nearly identical with all encoded by 15 exons although URP1 gene localized to chromosome 20p13, URP2 to 11q12 and MIG-2 to 14q22. This conserved exon structure suggests that all three members probably arose by gene duplication from one ancestral gene. The presence of multiple FERM domains characteristic of cytoplasmic plasma membrane to cytoskeleton linkers and a PH domain typical of membrane-anchored proteins involved in signal transduction suggest an important role for URP1 in tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-216
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 17 2003


  • Cancer
  • Cytoskeletal protein
  • DNA chip
  • FERM domain
  • MIG-2
  • PH domain
  • Transcript expression analysis
  • UNC-112
  • URP1
  • URP2
  • cDNA microarray


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