Characterization of the GAGE genes that are expressed in various human cancers and in normal testis

O De Backer, K C Arden, M Boretti, V Vantomme, C De Smet, S Czekay, C S Viars, E De Plaen, F Brasseur, P Chomez, B Van den Eynde, T Boon, P van der Bruggen

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The GAGE-1 gene was identified previously as a gene that codes for an antigenic peptide, YRPRPRRY, which was presented on a human melanoma by HLA-Cw6 molecules and recognized by a clone of CTLs derived from the patient bearing the tumor. By screening a cDNA library from this melanoma, we identified five additional, closely related genes named GAGE-2-6. We report here that further screening of this library led to the identification of two more genes, GAGE-7B and -8. GAGE-1, -2, and -8 code for peptide YRPRPRRY. Using another antitumor CTL clone isolated from the same melanoma patient, we identified antigenic peptide, YYWPRPRRY, which is encoded by GAGE-3, -4, -5, -6, and -7B and which is presented by HLA-A29 molecules. Genomic cloning of GAGE-7B showed that it is composed of five exons. Sequence alignment showed that an additional exon, which is present only in the mRNA of GAGE-1, has been disrupted in gene GAGE-7B by the insertion of a long interspersed repeated element retroposon. These GAGE genes are located in the p11.2-p11.4 region of chromosome X. They are not expressed in normal tissues, except in testis, but a large proportion of tumors of various histological origins express at least one of these genes. Treatment of normal and tumor cultured cells with a demethylating agent, azadeoxycytidine, resulted in the transcriptional activation of GAGE genes, suggesting that their expression in tumors results from a demethylation process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3157-65
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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