Human SLITRK family genes: genomic organization and expression profiling in normal brain and brain tumor tissue.

PMID 14557068


Slitrk family proteins are characterized as integral membrane proteins that have two leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domains and a carboxy-terminal domain that is partially similar to trk neurotrophin receptor proteins. The LRR domains are similar to those of slit proteins. In a previous study, we showed that mouse Slitrk genes are expressed predominantly in neural tissue and have neurite-modulating activity in cultured neuronal cells. Their expression profiles as well as their functions vary among the family members. In this paper, we characterized the human SLITRK1, SLITRK2, SLITRK3, SLITRK4, SLITRK5, and SLITRK6 genes. The six genes are located in three clusters, on 3q, 13q, and Xq, respectively. Their expression was detected mainly in the brain, but the expression profile of each SLITRK was unique. SLITRK expression was also investigated in various types of brain tumor tissue. The results showed that all SLITRK genes are differentially expressed in brain tumors, including astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, glioblastoma, medulloblastoma, and supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET). Particularly interesting findings were that SLITRK3 expression was enhanced in tissue from several different types of tumors and SLITRK6 expression was highly selective. These results suggest that the human SLITRK genes are useful molecular indicators of brain tumor properties.