Baalc, a Marker of Mesoderm and Muscle

Gene Expr Patterns. 2005 Apr;5(4):463-73. doi: 10.1016/j.modgep.2004.12.008.


Transcripts of the Brain and Acute Leukemia, Cytoplasmic (BAALC) gene are expressed in human neuroectodermal tissues and in CD34-positive bone marrow cells. High transcript levels occur in leukemic blasts from some patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), where high expression is an independent marker of poor prognosis. To gain insight into the hitherto unknown function of BAALC/Baalc, we studied its protein expression in embryonic and adult mouse tissue by immunohistochemical analysis. Baalc protein was mainly expressed in developing and mature muscle cells (cardiac, skeletal, and smooth) beginning on day E9 (heart). Signal was seen in the pre-muscle mesodermal cells of the dermatomyotome regions, and the derivatives of the lateral plate and intermediate mesoderm such as smooth muscle wall of the esophagus, stomach, the gut tube, bronchi, small blood vessels, and urinary bladder. This pattern continued through the late embryonic stages into adulthood. Baalc appeared to localize in the cytoplasm, adjacent to the cell membrane. This is distinctly observed in adult skeletal muscle cells. Baalc co-localized with known muscle-associated proteins but not with neural crest or neuronal markers. Scattered expression in adult bone marrow hematopoietic cells and weak expression in the brain neuropil also occurred. In conclusion, BAALC/Baalc is a marker of the mesodermal lineage, especially muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 8*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / genetics
  • Mesoderm / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Muscle, Skeletal / embryology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / growth & development
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*


  • BAALC protein, human
  • Baalc protein, mouse
  • Neoplasm Proteins