The Thomsen-Fridenreich antigen acts as an oncofetal antigen, with low expression in normal adult tissues but increasing to fetal levels of expression in hyperplasia or malignancy. It is considered as a pan-carcinoma marker. This gene is a member of the mucin family and encodes a membrane bound, glycosylated phosphoprotein. The protein is anchored to the apical surface of many epithelia by a transmembrane domain, with the degree of glycosylation varying with cell type. It also includes a 20 aa variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) domain, with the number of repeats varying from 20 to 120 in different individuals. The protein serves a protective function by binding to pathogens and also functions in a cell signaling capacity. Overexpression, aberrant intracellular localization, and changes in glycosylation of this protein have been associated with carcinomas. Multiple alternatively spliced transcript variants that encode different isoforms of this gene have been reported, but the full-length nature of only some has been determined.View more
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