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Virology. 1999 Jan 20;253(2):230-40.

Loss of retrovirus production in JB/RH melanoma cells transfected with H-2Kb and TAP-1 genes.

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University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


JB/RH1 melanoma cells, as well as other melanomas of C57BL/6 mice (B16 and JB/MS), express a common melanoma-associated antigen (MAA) encoded by an ecotropic melanoma-associated retrovirus (MelARV). JB/RH1 cells do not express the H-2Kb molecules due to down-regulation of the H-2Kb and TAP-1 genes. When JB/RH1 cells were transfected with the H-2Kb and cotransfected with the TAP-1 gene, it resulted in the appearance of H-2Kb molecules and an increase in their immunogenicity, albeit they lost expression of retrovirus-encoded MAA recognized by MM2-9B6 mAb. Loss of MAA was found to result from a complete and stable elimination of ecotropic MelARV production in the H-2Kb/TAP-1-transfected JB/RH1 cells. Northern blot analysis showed no differences in ecotropic retroviral messages in MelARV-producing and -nonproducing melanoma cells, suggesting that loss of MelARV production was not due to down-regulation of MelARV transcription. Southern blot analysis revealed several rearrangements in the proviral DNA of H-2Kb-positive JB/RH1 melanoma cells. Sequence analysis of the ecotropic proviral DNA from these cells showed numerous nucleotide substitutions, some of which resulted in the appearance of a novel intraviral PstI restriction site and the loss of a HindIII restriction site in the pol region. PCR amplification of the proviral DNAs indicates that an ecotropic provirus found in the H-2Kb-positive cells is novel and does not preexist in the parental H-2Kb-negative melanoma cells. Conversely, the ecotropic provirus of the parental JB/RH1 cells was not amplifable from the H-2Kb-positive cells. Our data indicate that stable loss of retroviral production in the H-2Kb/TAP-1-transfected melanoma cells is probably due to the induction of recombination between a productive ecotropic MelARV and a defective nonecotropic provirus leading to the generation of a defective ecotropic provirus and the loss of MelARV production and expression of the retrovirus-encoded MAA.

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