CRIPTO3, a presumed pseudogene, is expressed in cancer

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Dec 5;377(1):215-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.09.113. Epub 2008 Oct 1.


Cripto is a cell surface protein highly expressed in certain solid tumors, and overexpression of Cripto protein is oncogenic. Cripto-1 protein is encoded by CRIPTO1 gene. CRIPTO3, a presumed pseudogene, has an open reading frame with six amino acid differences from Cripto-1. We show that CRIPTO3 mRNA is the CRIPTO message expressed in many cancer samples. A CRIPTO3 SAGE tag was found in several cancer SAGE libraries, while the CRIPTO1 tag was found in ES cell libraries. In vitro experiments indicate both Cripto-1 and Cripto-3 proteins are functional in the Nodal-dependent signal pathway. Our data indicate that CRIPTO3 is an expressed gene, particularly in certain cancers, and suggest a potentially novel mechanism of oncogenesis through activation of a retrogene.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / genetics*
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genes, Neoplasm*
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pseudogenes*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • TDGF1 protein, human
  • Epidermal Growth Factor