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J Exp Med. 1996 Mar 1;183(3):1173-83.

A peptide recognized by human cytolytic T lymphocytes on HLA-A2 melanomas is encoded by an intron sequence of the N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V gene.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Brussels Branch and Cellular Genetics Unit, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.


A cytolytic T lymphocyte (CTL) clone that lyses many HLA-A2 melanomas was derived from a population of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes of an HLA-A2 melanoma patient. The gene coding for the antigen recognized by this CTL was identified by transfection of a cDNA library. It is the gene which has been reported to code for N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V (GnT-V). Remarkably, the antigenic peptide recognized by the CTL is encoded by a sequence located in an intron. In contrast to the fully spliced GnT-V mRNA, which was found in a wide range of normal and tumoral tissues, the mRNA containing the intron region coding for the antigen was not found at a significant level in normal tissues. This mRNA was observed to be present in about 50% of melanomas. Our results suggest that a promoter located near the end of the relevant intron is activated in melanoma cells, resulting in the production of an mRNA coding for the antigen.

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