To identify tumor antigens for glioma, a human testis cDNA library was screened by serological identification of antigens by recombinant expression cloning with sera from glioma patients. In this screening, the most frequently isolated antigen was SOX6, an Sry-related high-mobility group (HMG) box-containing gene. SOX6 is a transcriptional factor that is specifically expressed in the developing central nervous system and in the early stages of chondrogenesis in mouse embryos. IgG antibodies against SOX6 were detected in sera from 12 of 36 glioma patients (33.3%), 0 of 14 patients with other brain disease (0%), and one of 54 other cancer patients (1.9%). In sera from 37 healthy individuals, no IgG responses against SOX6 were detected, except in an elderly female. Furthermore, Western blot and ELISA analyses with sera from glioma patients revealed that the DNA-binding domain, the HMG box of SOX6, might be a dominant epitope of IgGs against SOX6. RT-PCR and Northern blot analysis revealed that the SOX6 gene was more highly expressed in glioma tissues than in normal adult tissues, except testis. Western blot analysis with an anti-SOX6 antibody demonstrated that the SOX6 protein was expressed in glioma tissues, but not in normal adult brain tissue. Immunohistochemical analysis with the anti-SOX6 antibody showed that all the glioma tissues analysed expressed SOX6 in tumor cells, but only a few SOX6-positive cells were detected in non-neoplastic tissues from the cerebral cortex. In summary, these results indicate that the developmentally regulated transcription factor SOX6 is aberrantly expressed in glioma and specifically recognized by IgGs from glioma patients' sera.