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J Immunol. 1992 Aug 15;149(4):1223-9.

Molecular cloning and characterization of the gene encoding mouse melanoma antigen by cDNA library transfection.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Immunology, Chiba University, Japan.


We have isolated a cDNA (H52) of 2.8-kb-long encoding an 80-kDa mouse melanoma Ag that is defined by a syngeneic anti-B16 melanoma mAb with an ability to block anti-melanoma cytotoxic T cell responses. H52 transfectants were brightly stained with the antibody, and the 80-kDa molecule was immunoprecipitated from the transfectants. Northern blot analysis showed that this transcript was detected in mouse melanoma cells of C57BL/6 and DBA/2 origin, C1300 A/J neuroblastoma, L cell (C3H) and EL-4 T lymphoma (C57BL/6), faintly in BW5147 (AKR) T lymphoma, but not in other tumors, such as S913 fibrosarcoma (C57BL/10), NIH3T3, 70 Z/3 pre-B lymphoma, and P3U1 plasmacytoma (BALB/c). Since the transcripts were not found in normal C57BL/6 tissues of fetus, newborn, and adult origin, the H52 expression is associated with transforming phenotypes. However, no tissue- or cell type-specific expression was observed. Nucleotide sequence analysis has clearly demonstrated that H52 cDNA encodes the full length of the env gene and long terminal repeat region of endogenous ecotropic murine leukemia provirus of AKV-type, which is defective in C57BL/6. The H52 envelope protein has several amino acid changes compared to those of AKV, one of which is in the env 14 peptide region preferentially associated with MHC molecule, suggesting the possible reason for the difference of antibody reactivity even in H52-positive tumors. We also demonstrate that CTL against H52 transfectant kills B16 melanoma. Thus, the above results are direct evidence that even the endogenous self molecule, when constitutively expressed, does act as a tumor Ag.

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