The CXCR4 chemokine receptor regulates migration and homing of cancer cells to specific metastatic sites. Determination of the CXCR4 receptor status will provide predictive information for disease prognosis and possible therapeutic intervention. However, previous attempts to localize CXCR4 using poorly characterized mouse monoclonal or rabbit polyclonal antibodies have produced predominant nuclear and occasional cytoplasmic staining but did not result in the identification of bona fide cell surface receptors.
In the present study, we extensively characterized the novel rabbit monoclonal anti-CXCR4 antibody (clone UMB-2) using transfected cells and tissues from CXCR4-deficient mice. Specificity of UMB-2 was demonstrated by cell surface staining of CXCR4-transfected cells; translocation of CXCR4 immunostaining after agonist exposure; detection of a broad band migrating at Mr 38,000–43,000 in Western blots of homogenates from CXCR4-expressing cells; selective detection of the receptor in tissues from CXCR4+/+ but not from CXCR4−/− mice; and abolition of tissue immunostaining by preadsorption of UMB-2 with its immunizing peptide. In formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded human tumor tissues, UMB-2 yielded highly effective plasma membrane staining of a subpopulation of tumor cells, which were often heterogeneously distributed throughout the tumor. A comparative analysis of the mouse monoclonal antibody 12G5 and other frequently used commercially available antibodies revealed that none of these was able to detect CXCR4 under otherwise identical conditions.
Thus, the rabbit monoclonal antibody UMB-2 may prove of great value in the assessment of the CXCR4 receptor status in a variety of human tumors during routine histopathological examination.