Sodium butyrate (NAB) was shown to induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in a human pancreatic cancer cell line (AsPC-1). To identify the genes that are differentially regulated by NaB, we generated subtracted EST libraries highly enriched for up- or down-regulated transcripts using the suppression subtraction hybridization technique. One of the ESTs identified in the down-regulated library showed significant homology to human α- catenin. A cDNA of 2.45 kb that codes for a putative protein of 734 aa was cloned. The cloned cDNA was used as a template in an in vitro transcription- translation reaction. This produced a protein product of about 82 kDa in size. The gene designated as CTNNAL1 (catenin (cadherin-associated protein), alpha-like 1) was found to be ubiquitously expressed in many tissues including pancreas, heart, and skeletal muscle. A human BAC clone containing the gene was isolated and used as a probe for fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Both radiation hybrid and FISH analysis mapped the gene to chromosome band 9q31.2, a region where frequent abnormalities have been observed in bladder carcinoma, esophageal cancers, and several other tumors.
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