The CD59 antigen is a structural homologue of murine Ly‐6 antigens but lacks interferon inducibility

William M. Philbrick, Roger G.E. Palfree, Stephen E. Maher, Margot M. Bridgett, Sonia Sirlin, Alfred L.M. Bothwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


A cDNA encoding the human leukocyte antigen CD59 has been isolated from the erythroid cell line K‐562 and its identity confirmed through expression in COS cells. Northern blotting reveals three message species of approximately 800, 1400 and 2000 bases in size, which are constitutively expressed in all lymphoid, erythroid, myeloid, and neural cell types tested thus far. Southern blotting of human DNA indicates a pattern consistent with the presence of a single gene, which has been mapped to chromosome 11 by somatic cell hybrids. Also, the finding of a transcriptionally active cross‐hybridizing gene in monkey cells suggests conservation of CD59 sequences among primates. Comparison of the CD59 protein sequence with those of the Ly‐6E and Ly‐6C antigens discloses a similarity in overall structure, including the alignment of abundant cysteine residues, hydrophobic carboxy termini and conservation of amino acids surrounding the proposed phosphatidylinositol‐glycan modification site for Ly‐6 molecules. Unlike Ly‐6, however, CD59 expression does not appear to be inducible with interferons. This, along with its limited homology and different tissue distribution, cast doubt upon the functional equivalence of CD59 and either of the well‐characterized mouse Ly‐6 proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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