Ancient Genes in Cancer Gene Expression?
Backsround: The Cancer/testis (CT) antigens are a division of germ cell specific genes not expressed in somatic cells, exceptions being placental cells and 20Vo - 4OVo of cancer types. The aptitude of CT antigens to elicit humoral immune responses, their restricted expression profile, absence of major histocompatability complex expression in male germline cells have contributed to the emergent attraction of CT antigens as ideal, prospective cancer vaccination candidates. Motivation: Presently there are M CT gene families containing a total of 97 gene products and isoforms. Due to the promulgation in sensitivity and specificity of rapid serological immunodetection assays e.g. serial analysis of recombinant cDNA expression libraries (SEREX), the magnitude of novel CT genes and gene families will increase. Hence, characteization of this unique subset of CT genes is fundamental to our erudition of this rapidly emerging novel subset of genes. Obiectives: The sequencing of the human genome provides a useful biological framework for the categoization and systematization of rapidly accumulating biological information. A genomic approach was used to ascertain the locations of the CT genes in the human genome and determine if the genomic locations of the CT genes is nonrandom. An in-silico expression study was conducted for the CT genes with the aim of establishing if CT gene expression is restricted to the testis. A portion of the human genome housing the largest proportion of the CT genes was selected for analysis in order to determine if the surrounding genomic architecture influences CT gene expression. A comparative genomics approach was used in determining if the CT genes are "ancient genes.