A novel v-erb-B-related gene, c-erb-B-2, which has been identified in the human genome1,2, maps to human chromosome 17 at q21 (ref. 40), and seems to encode a polypeptide with a kinase domain that is highly homologous with, but distinct from, that of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor 1. The c-erb-B-2 gene is conserved in vertebrates and it has been suggested1 that the neu gene, detected in a series of rat neuro/ glioblastomas3, is, in fact, the rat c-erb-B-2 gene. Amplification of the c-erb-B-2 gene in a salivary adenocarcinoma and a gastric cancer cell line MKN-7 suggests that its over-expression is sometimes involved in the neoplastic process. To determine the nature of the c-erb-B-2 protein, we have now molecularly cloned complementary DNA for c-erb-B-2 messenger RNA prepared from MKN-7 cells. Its sequence shows that the c-erb-B-2 gene encodes a possible receptor protein and allows an analysis of the similarity of the protein to the EGF receptor and the neu product. As a consequence of chromosomal aberration in MKN-7 cells, a 4.6-kilobase (kb) normal transcript and a truncated 2.3-kb transcript of c-erb-B-2 are synthesized at elevated levels. The latter transcript presumably encodes only the extracellular domain of the putative receptor.
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