MUC18, a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily, is expressed on bone marrow fibroblasts and a subset of hematological malignancies

R. J A Filshie, A. C W Zannettino, V. Makrynikola, S. Gronthos, A. J. Henniker, L. J. Bendall, D. J. Gottlieb, P. J. Simmons, K. F. Bradstock

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78 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the importance of bone marrow stromal cells in hemopoiesis, the profile of surface molecule expression is relatively poorly understood. Mice were immunized with cultured human bone marrow stromal cells in order to raise monoclonal antibodies to novel cell surface molecules, which might be involved in interactions with hemopoietic cells. Three antibodies, WM85, CC9 and EB4 were produced, and were found to identify a 100-110 kDa antigen on bone marrow fibroblasts. Molecular cloning revealed the molecule to be MUC18 (CD146), a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily, previously described as a marker of metastatic melanoma. In addition to the expected expression on melanoma cell lines and endothelial cells, a number of human leukemic cell lines were found to express MUC18, including all six T leukemia lines tested, one of five B lineage lines and one of four myeloid lines. Analysis of bone marrow samples from patients revealed positivity in 20% of B lineage ALL (n = 20), one of three T-ALL, 15% of AML (n = 13) and 43% of various B lymphoproliferative disorders (n = 7). No apparent reactivity was observed with mononuclear cells from normal peripheral blood or bone marrow, including candidate hemopoietic stem cells characterized by their expression of the CD34 antigen. However, positive selection of bone marrow mononuclear cells labeled with MUC18 antibody revealed a rare subpopulation (< 1%) containing more than 90% of the stromal precursors identified in fibroblast colony-forming assays. The structure and tissue distribution of MUC18 suggest a functional role in regulation of hemopoiesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-421
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1998


  • Immunoglobulin superfamily
  • Leukemia
  • MUC18
  • Stroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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