Key points from article :
CD33-related Siglecs are found mainly on innate immune cells and are involved in cell signaling.
One Siglec appears to have “gone rogue” in humans, according to Ajit and Nissi Varki, co-researchers of the study.
Siglec-XII, encoded by the gene SIGLEC12, no longer binds sialic acid and seems to be involved in abnormal cell signaling.
Protein plays a role in cancer progression and could help explain higher rates of carcinoma in humans.
Most people have a mutation that inactivates SIGLEC12.
Researchers found Siglec-XII in about 80 percent of carcinoma samples.
Forced production in a human prostate cancer cell line resulted in higher expression of cancer progression–related genes.
Functional SIGLEC12 was associated with poor prognosis in late-stage colorectal cancer patients.
"More evidence is needed to confirm Siglec-XII’s role in cancer progression," - Jun Wang, immunologist at NYU Langone Health.
Research by UC San Diego published in the journal FASEB.