CFFM4: a new member of the CD20/FcεRIβ family
Proteins with transmembrane domains are classified in different families based on their structure, amino acid homology, and function. In this study, we report the identification, sequence, and expression profile of a new member of the CD20/FcεRIβ family, CD20/FcεRIβ family member 4 (CFFM4). The CFFM4 gene contains seven exons and six introns and is transcribed into an mRNA encoding a 240-amino acid protein with four hydrophobic regions. The CFFM4 protein shares a high degree of homology with the other members of the family, especially in the hydrophobic regions where several amino acids are conserved. However, the CFFM4 protein can be distinguished from the other members of the family based on the length of the second extracellular loop and the absence of an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif signal. Another distinct characteristic is that CFFM4 mRNA expression is not limited to the hematopoietic lineage. CFFM4 was detected by Northern dot blot in a variety of normal and cancerous tissues. CFFM4 expression was also compared in developmentally early hematopoietic human bone marrow CD34+ stem cells versus peripheral blood-derived CD14+ mature monocytes, in the undifferentiated versus differentiated myelomonocytic U937 cell line, and in acute myelogenous leukemia FAB1 versus FAB5. In each of these systems, cellular myelomonocytic differentiation correlated with an increase in CFFM4 mRNA expression. Such results indicate that CFFM4 is associated with mature cellular function in the monocytic lineage and like CD20 and FcεRIβ, it may be a component of a receptor complex involved in signal transduction.