Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 19–27 | Cite as

HUlip, a human homologue of unc-33-like phosphoprotein of Caenorhabditis elegans; Immunohistochemical localization in the developing human brain and patterns of expression in nervous system tumors

  • Yoon-La Choi
  • Chong Jai KimEmail author
  • Tatsuya Matsuo
  • Carlo Gaetano
  • Rita Falconi
  • Yeon-Lim Suh
  • Seok-Hyung Kim
  • Young Kee Shin
  • Seong Hoe Park
  • Je Geun Chi
  • Carol J. Thiele
Laboratory Investigation


HUlip is a human homologue of a C. elegans gene, unc-33, that is developmentally regulated during maturation of the nervous system. HUlip is highly expressed only in the fetal brain and spinal cord, and is undetected in the adult brain. The purpose of this study was to investigate the pattern of hUlip expression in the developing human brain and nervous system tumors. Ten human brains at different developmental stages and 118 cases of nervous system tumor tissues were examined by immunohistochemistry. Twelve related tumor cell lines were also analyzed by northern blotting and immunoblotting. HUlip was expressed in late fetal and early postnatal brains; strongly in the neurons of the brain stem, basal ganglia/thalamus, and dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, and relatively weakly in the cerebral and cerebellar cortex. Among tumors, hUlip expression was easily detected in tumor cells undergoing neuronal differentiation such as ganglioneuroblastomas and ganglioneuromas. Furthermore, hUlip immunoreactivity was also found in various brain tumors showing neuronal differentiation: central neurocytomas (6 of 6 cases were positive), medulloblastomas (5/11), atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (1/1) and gangliogliomas (4/7). Some astrocytic tumors also showed weak positivity: astrocytomas (1 of 5 cases), anaplastic astrocytomas (2/5), and glioblastomas (3/11). Subependymal giant cell astrocytomas and subependymomas, which are of controversial histogenetic origin, showed strong hUlip immunoreactivity. The results of this study indicate that the expression of hUlip protein is distinctly restricted to the late fetal and early postnatal periods of human nervous system development and to certain subsets of nervous system tumors. The exact function of hUlip needs to be further clarified; yet the results of our study strongly imply that hUlip function is important in human nervous system development and its aberrant expression in various types of nervous system tumors suggests a role of hUlip as an oncofetal neural antigen.


brain tumor development hUlip nervous system neuron 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoon-La Choi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chong Jai Kim
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Tatsuya Matsuo
    • 4
  • Carlo Gaetano
    • 4
  • Rita Falconi
    • 5
  • Yeon-Lim Suh
    • 1
  • Seok-Hyung Kim
    • 2
  • Young Kee Shin
    • 2
  • Seong Hoe Park
    • 2
  • Je Geun Chi
    • 2
  • Carol J. Thiele
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineKorea
  2. 2.Department of PathologySeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  3. 3.Laboratory of Pathology, Clinical Research InstituteSeoul National University HospitalSeoulKorea
  4. 4.Cell and Molecular Biology Section, Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer ResearchNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA
  5. 5.Laboratory of Molecular OncologyInstituto Regina ElenaRomeItaly

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