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Oncotarget. 2016 Sep 13;7(37):59704-59713. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.10923.

IRES-dependent translation of the long non coding RNA meloe in melanoma cells produces the most immunogenic MELOE antigens.

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CRCNA, INSERM, CNRS, Université d'Angers, Université de Nantes, Nantes, France.
UMR INRA 1280, CHU, Nantes, France.
West Human Nutrition Research Center, CHU, Nantes, France.
CHU, Nantes, France.


MELOE-1 and MELOE-2, two highly specific melanoma antigens involved in T cell immunosurveillance are produced by IRES-dependent translation of the long « non coding » and polycistronic RNA, meloe. In the present study, we document the expression of an additional ORF, MELOE-3, located in the 5' region of meloe. Data from in vitro translation experiments and transfection of melanoma cells with bicistronic vectors documented that MELOE-3 is exclusively translated by the classical cap-dependent pathway. Using a sensitive tandem mass spectrometry technique, we detected the presence of MELOE-3 in total lysates of both melanoma cells and normal melanocytes. This contrasts with our previous observation of the melanoma-restricted expression of MELOE-1 and MELOE-2. Furthermore, in vitro stimulation of PBMC from 6 healthy donors with overlapping peptides from MELOE-1 or MELOE-3 revealed a very scarce MELOE-3 specific T cell repertoire as compared to the abundant repertoire observed against MELOE-1. The poor immunogenicity of MELOE-3 and its expression in melanocytes is consistent with an immune tolerance towards a physiologically expressed protein. In contrast, melanoma-restricted expression of IRES-dependent MELOE-1 may explain its high immunogenicity. In conclusion, within the MELOE family, IRES-dependent antigens represent the best T cell targets for immunotherapy of melanoma.


IRES; immunotherapy; long non coding RNA; melanoma; tumor antigens

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