Nomenclature of prominin-1 (CD133) splice variants – an update


Denis Corbeil
Tissue Engineering Laboratories, BIOTEC
Technical University of Dresden
Tatzberg 47-51
D-01307 Dresden
Tel: +49 0351 4634 0118
Fax: +49 0351 4634 0244


Prominin-1 (CD133), a pentaspan membrane glycoprotein that constitutes an important cell surface marker of various, either normal or cancerous, stem cell populations is widely used to isolate or characterize such cells in different systems. Occurring throughout the metazoan evolution with a remarkably conserved genomic organization, it may be expressed as different splice variants with distinctive characteristics. A rational nomenclature has been proposed earlier for their consistent designation across species. Although generally accepted, it seems to be misunderstood in view of the recent report of novel prominin-1 complementary DNAs in rhesus monkey and humans with improper naming. As this may lead to confusion, we have reexamined the genomic organization of prominin-1 in various primates to provide an update that should further clarify the rationale of the nomenclature for prominin-1 gene products. This report comprises (i) the determination of the genomic organization of prominin-1 gene in two non-human primates, i.e. Macaca mulatta and Pan troglodytes, commonly used in research, (ii) the mapping of a new exon that creates an alternative cytoplasmic C-terminal end of prominin-1, (iii) the identification of various potential PDZ-binding domains generated by alternative cytoplasmic C-terminal tails, suggesting that different prominin-1 splice variants might interact with distinct protein partners, and (iv) a summing up of the different prominin-1 splice variants.