The existence of XAGE genes was first reported after database homology searches for PAGE-like sequences identified 3 XAGE EST clusters. One of these clusters, XAGE-1, has in later studies been identified as a cancer/testis-associated gene. Here, we report the expression profiles of all 3 reported XAGE genes, as well as several splice variants of XAGE-1, in normal human tissues, Ewing's sarcoma and melanocytic tumors. We also provide the genetic structure of the corresponding genes. Moreover, by searching the databases for XAGE homologues, we identified 3 additional GAGE-like genes. RT-PCR studies showed frequent expression in melanoma metastases and Ewing's sarcoma for 2 XAGE-1-derived transcripts. XAGE-2 was expressed at lower frequency in these tissues, while XAGE-3 was seen only in normal placenta. Due to a frameshift, the largest XAGE-1 putative protein is far less homologous to GAGE-like proteins than the other XAGEs. Interestingly, all GAGE-like genes contain a large secondary open reading frame, coding for putative proteins homologues to the XAGE-1 primary protein. The XAGE family of cancer/testis-associated genes is located on chromosome Xp11.21-Xp11.22. The data outline a superfamily of GAGE-like cancer/testis antigens, consisting of at least 19 genes.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.