Cancer research

Identification of a new MAGE gene with tumor-specific expression by representational difference analysis.

PMID 9485030


Human genes expressed exclusively in tumors and male germ line cells, such as those of the MAGE, BAGE, and GAGE families, encode antigens recognized by T lymphocytes, which are potentially useful for antitumor immunotherapy. To identify new genes of this type, we generated cDNA populations enriched in sequences expressed only in testis and melanoma, using the representational difference analysis approach. A testis cDNA library enriched by subtraction with cDNA from four other normal tissues was hybridized with radiolabeled melanoma cDNA enriched by subtraction with normal skin cDNA. A cDNA fragment sharing significant homology with MAGE genes was identified, and a cosmid containing this new gene, named MAGE-C1, was isolated. MAGE-C1 is composed of four exons and encodes a putative protein of 1142 amino acids. It is about 800 residues longer than the other MAGE proteins due to the insertion of a large number of short repetitive sequences in front of the MAGE-homologous sequence. The MAGE-C1 gene appears to be located on band Xq26, whereas the MAGE-A and MAGE-B genes are located on Xq28 and Xp21, respectively. Like other MAGE genes, MAGE-C1 is expressed in a significant proportion of tumors of various histological types, whereas it is silent in normal tissues except testis. It is probable, therefore, that like other MAGE genes, MAGE-C1 encodes antigens that may constitute useful targets for cancer immunotherapy because of their strict tumoral specificity.