CD34 and podocalyxin are structurally related sialomucins, which are expressed in multiple tissues including vascular endothelium and hematopoietic progenitors. These glycoproteins have been proposed to be involved in processes as diverse as glomerular filtration, inhibition of stem cell differentiation, and leukocyte-endothelial adhesion. Using homologies present in the cytoplasmic tails of these proteins, we have identified a novel member of this family, which we designate endoglycan. This protein shares a similar overall domain structure with the other family members including a sialomucin domain, but also possesses an extremely acidic amino-terminal region. In addition, endoglycan contains several potential glycosaminoglycan attachment sites and is modified with chondroitin sulfate. Endoglycan mRNA and protein were detected in both endothelial cells and CD34(+) bone marrow cells. Thus, CD34, podocalyxin, and endoglycan comprise a family of sialomucins sharing both structural similarity and sequence homology, which are expressed by both endothelium and multipotent hematopoietic progenitors. While the members of this family may perform overlapping functions at these sites, the unique structural features of endoglycan suggest distinct functions for this molecule.
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