Melanoma-reactive CD8+ T cells recognize a novel tumor antigen expressed in a wide variety of tumor types

M. Harada, Y. F. Li, M. El-Gamil, G. A. Ohnmacht, S. A. Rosenberg, P. F. Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


An autologous melanoma cell line selected for loss of expression of the immunodominant MART-1 and gp100 antigens was initially used to carry out a mixed lymphocyte tumor culture (MLTC) in a patient who expressed the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A1 and HLA-A2 class I major histocompatibility complex alleles. Ten clones identified from this MLTC seemed to recognize melanoma in an HLA-A1-restricted manner but failed to recognize a panel of previously described melanoma antigens. The screening of an autologous melanoma cDNA library with one HLA-A1-restricted melanoma-reactive T-cell clone resulted in the isolation of a cDNA clone called AIM-2 (antigen isolated from immunoselected melanoma-2). The AIM-2 transcript seemed to have retained an intronic sequence based on its alignment with genomic sequences as well as expressed sequence tags. This transcript was not readily detected after Northern blot analysis of melanoma mRNA, indicating that only low levels of this product may be expressed in tumor cells. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis, however, demonstrated a correlation between T-cell recognition and expression in HLA-A1-expressing tumor cell lines. A peptide that was encoded within a short open reading frame of 23 amino acids and conformed to the HLA-A1 binding motif RSDSGQQARY was found to represent the T-cell epitope. The AIM-2-reactive T-cell clone recognized a number of neuroectodermal tumors as well as breast, ovarian, and colon carcinomas that expressed HLA-A1, indicating that this represents a widely expressed tumor antigen. Thus, AIM-2 may represent a potential target for the development of vaccines in patients bearing tumors of a variety of histologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-333
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Human
  • Melanoma
  • T lymphocytes
  • Tumor immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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