Oncofetal genes are those that are expressed in developing (fetal) as well as cancer (onco) cells. This expression can reflect shared functions important during development and which are reactivated, during neoplasia. Sometimes the latter can involve functional changes which may be delivered through structural modifications (e.g., amino acid sequence change) or by the levels or context of the expression (altered or different gene promoters of transcription). The term antigen relates to the property of the gene product and/or its added posttranslational modifications (e.g., glycosylation) which can be recognized by the immune system (e.g., antibodies). Most self molecules are non-immunogenic and not able to induce antibodies in the same organism which are said to be tolerant. Often oncofetal antigens are immunogenic since they are not expressed widely in the adult animals and the immune system is not tolerant and they can elicit self immunity under some circumstances.
KeywordsSmallpox Vaccine Oncofetal Antigen Amino Acid Sequence Change Cellular Mediate Immunity Negative Growth Factor
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