Background: CD26 is a type II, cell surface glycoprotein known as dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP) IV. Previous studies have revealed CD26 expression in T cell leukemia/lymphoma and malignant mesothelioma, and an inhibitory effect of anti-CD26 monoclonal antibody (mAb) against the growth of CD26+ cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. The function of CD26 in tumor development is unknown and the machinery with which the CD26 mAb induces its anti-tumor effect remains uncharacterized. Results: The localization of CD26 in the nucleus of T cell leukemia/ lymphoma cells and mesothelioma cells was shown by biochemical and immuno-electron microscopic analysis. The DPPIV enzyme activity was revealed in the nuclear fraction of T cell leukemia/lymphoma cells. These expressions of intra-nuclear CD26 were augmented by treatment with the CD26 mAb, 1F7, with anti-tumor effect against the CD26+ T cell leukemia/lymphoma cells. In contrast, the CD26 mAb, 5F8, without anti-tumor effect, did not augment CD26 expressions in the nucleus. Biotin-labeled, cell surface CD26 translocated into the nucleus constantly, and this translocation was enhanced with 1F7 treatment but not with 5F8. Conclusion: These results indicate that the intra-nuclear CD26 which moves from plasma membrane may play certain roles in cell growth of human cancer cells.
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