The Journal of biological chemistry

Identification and characterization of KLK-L4, a new kallikrein-like gene that appears to be down-regulated in breast cancer tissues.

PMID 10766816


Kallikreins are a subgroup of serine proteases and these proteolytic enzymes have diverse physiological functions in many tissues. Growing evidence suggests that many kallikreins are implicated in carcinogenesis. In rodents, kallikreins constitute a large multigene family, but in humans, only three genes were identified. By using the positional candidate gene approach, we were able to identify a new kallikrein-like gene, tentatively named KLK-L4 (for kallikrein-like gene 4). This new gene maps to chromosome 19q13. 3-q13.4, is formed of five coding exons and four introns, and shows structural similarity to other kallikreins and kallikrein-like genes. KLK-L4 is expressed in a variety of tissues including prostate, salivary gland, breast, and testis. Our preliminary results show that KLK-L4 is down-regulated, at the mRNA level, in breast cancer tissues and breast cancer cell lines. Its expression is regulated by steroid hormones in the breast cancer cell line BT-474. This gene may be involved in the pathogenesis and/or progression of breast cancer and may find applicability as a novel cancer biomarker.