The members of the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)/pregnancy-specific glycoprotein (PSG) gene family have a characteristic N-terminal domain that is homologous to the immunoglobulin variable region. We have estimated the size of the PSG subfamily by identification of N-domain exons from isolated genomic clones and from total genomic DNA through PCR amplification and DNA sequence determination. The PSG subfamily contains at least 11 different genes. For 7 of these, two DNA sequences differing from each other in 1 to 4 nucleotides were detected. Most likely, they represent different alleles. They are PSG1, PSG2, PSG3, PSG4, PSG5, PSG6, PSG7, PSG8, PSG11, PSG12, and PSG13. Six of the N-domain sequences described here are new. All of the PSGs except PSG1, PSG4, and PSG8 contained the arginine-glycine-aspartic acid sequence at position 93-95 corresponding to the complementarity determining region 3 of immunoglobulin. Parsimony analysis of 24 CEA and PSG sequences using 12 members of the immunoglobulin gene superfamily as out-groups to root the family free shows that the N-domain of the CEA group genes evolved in one major branch and the PSG group genes in the other.
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