Expression of the MAGE-1 Tumor Antigen Is Up-Regulated by the Demethylating Agent 5-Aza-2′-Deoxycytidine

J. Weber, M. Salgaller, D. Samid, B. Johnson, M. Herlyn, N. Lassam, J. Treisman, S. A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


MAGE-1 is a gene that encodes an antigen on a melanoma cell line that is recognized by cytolytic T-cells. We have used a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay to analyze expression of the MAGE-1 gene by cell lines from different types of tumors, melanomas from different stages of disease progression, normal diploid cell lines, and melanocyte and nevus tissue from which malignant melanomas are derived. MAGE-1 is expressed by melanoma tissue from all stages of disease, but not melanocytes, nevus tissue, or any normal diploid cell line tested. A fraction of tumor lines derived from various epithelial and neuroectodermal malignancies expressed MAGE-1 but not peripheral blood cells from patients with melanoma. 5-Aza-2’-deoxycytidine (DAC), a demethylating agent, was capable of inducing MAGE-1 expression by a MAGE-1 -negative melanoma cell line 888-mel as well as by a number of other melanoma cell lines. At an optimum concentration of 1 μM DAC, MAGE-1 expression was detectable by 24 h, plateaued by 72 h, but remained high for two weeks after removal of DAC from treated 888-mel cells, consistent with induction by demethylation. With the exception of tumor-infiltrating leukocytes, no normal diploid cell line could be induced with DAC to up-regulate MAGE-1 expression. DAC-treated 888-mel cells were lysed by a MAGE-1 -specific major histocompatibility complex restricted cytolytic T-cell clone, whereas control untreated cells were not, suggesting that production of the antigen encoded by the MAGE-1 gene was induced by DAC and that it was presented in association with major histocompatibility complex class I molecules at the cell surface for T-cell recognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1766-1771
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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