Detection of T lymphocytes specific for human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) in patients with seminoma

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2006 Jan;22(1):52-6. doi: 10.1089/aid.2006.22.52.


Human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) is distinctive among the retroviruses that comprise about 8% of the human genome in that multiple HERV-K proviruses encode full-length viral proteins, and many HERV-K proviruses formed during recent human evolution. HERV-K gag proteins are found in the cytoplasm of primary tumor cells of patients with seminoma. We identified HERV-K-specific T cells in patients with a past history of seminoma using the interferon-gamma ELISPOT assay and an MHC-HERV-K peptide-specific tetramer. A minority of apparently healthy subjects without evident germ cell tumors also made HERV-K-specific T cell responses. In summary, we detected T cell reactivity to HERV-K peptides in both past seminoma patients and a minority of apparently healthy controls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / genetics
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seminoma / immunology*
  • Seminoma / metabolism
  • Seminoma / virology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Virus Integration


  • Antibodies, Viral