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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Apr 26;91(9):3515-9.

Cloning of the gene coding for a shared human melanoma antigen recognized by autologous T cells infiltrating into tumor.

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Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


By cDNA expression cloning we have isolated a gene encoding a shared human melanoma antigen recognized by HLA-A2 restricted autologous and allogenic tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) from patients with metastatic melanoma. By using both transient and stable expression systems, transfection of this gene into non-antigen-expressing HLA-A2+ cell lines resulted in recognition by the antigen-specific TILs. The sequence of this cDNA revealed a previously undescribed putative transmembrane protein whose expression was restricted to melanoma and melanocyte cell lines and human retina but no other fresh or cultured normal tissues tested or other tumor histologies. Thus, we have identified a gene encoding a melanocyte lineage-specific protein (MART-1; melanoma antigen recognized by T cells 1) that is a widely shared melanoma antigen recognized by the T lymphocytes of patients with established malignancy. Identification of this gene opens possibilities for the development of immunotherapies for patients with melanoma.

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