A number of genes of the MAGE-A, B, and C families have been shown to code for antigens that are recognized on many human tumors by autologous cytolytic T lymphocytes. These antigens ought to be strictly tumor specific because the encoding MAGE genes are not expressed in normal adult cells except for male germline cells, which lack HLA expression. To identify new genes of this type, we performed representational difference analysis on a melanoma cell line by subtraction with a normal skin sample. This led to the identification of MAGE-C2, a new member of the MAGE-C family. A search for nucleotide sequences encoding MAGE-like proteins in public databases led to the identification of three additional MAGE genes, which were named MAGE-B5, MAGE-B6, and MAGE-C3. The four new MAGE genes are not expressed in normal tissues, except for testis, and are expressed in tumors of different histological origins. Therefore, like other MAGE genes expressed specifically in tumors, MAGE-B5, MAGE-B6, MAGE-C2, and MAGE-C3 ought to encode antigens that could be targets for cancer immunotherapy.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.