CD44, an integral membrane glycoprotein expressed by many cell types, serves as the principal transmembrane hyaluronate receptor and might be a determinant of metastatic and invasive behaviour in carcinomas. The generation of CD44 splice variants might be linked closely with gastric carcinoma tumorigenesis and differentiation. Some studies have reported that the magnitude of CD44 variant synthesis at the protein level correlates with lymph node metastasis. A number of studies have examined the possible mechanism of involvement of the CD44 variant in tumour metastasis. Most studies have reported that the regulation of CD44 binding to hyaluronate results from glycosylation of variably spliced exons. Direct hyaluronate binding studies of CD44 V4-V7 isoforms transfected into the human gastric carcinoma cell line, SC-M1, have indicated that the V4-V7 isoforms themselves, in addition to glycosylation, can alter hyaluronate binding.
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