Nova, the paraneoplastic Ri antigen, is homologous to an RNA-binding protein and is specifically expressed in the developing motor system

Neuron. 1993 Oct;11(4):657-72. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(93)90077-5.


Paraneoplastic opsoclonus-ataxia, a disorder of motor control, develops in breast or lung cancer patients who harbor an antibody (Ri) that recognizes their tumors and a nuclear neuronal protein of 55 kd. We have characterized a gene, Nova, encoding an antigen recognized by the Ri antibody. Nova encodes a novel, highly conserved protein, homologous to the RNA-binding protein hnRNP K, the yeast splicing protein MER1, and a motif in several retroviral proteases. Northern blot analysis detects Nova transcripts only in brain, and several alternatively spliced forms are present in brain and tumor cells. Nova expression is restricted to the ventral brain stem and spinal cord in E18 mice. Since Nova encodes a target antigen in the motor disorder paraneoplastic opsoclonus-ataxia that is expressed in the developing subcortical motor system, it is a likely participant in both the pathogenesis of paraneoplastic opsoclonus-ataxia and the developmental biology of the motor system. The homology between Nova and hnRNP K suggests that Nova regulates RNA splicing or metabolism in a specific subset of developing neurons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Neoplasm*
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Stem / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / metabolism*
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Consensus Sequence
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Neuro-Oncological Ventral Antigen
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / chemistry
  • Ribonucleoproteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • DNA Primers
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neuro-Oncological Ventral Antigen
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins