Cancer testis antigens in human melanoma stem cells: Expression, distribution, and methylation status

Luca Sigalotti, Alessia Covre, Susan Zabierowski, Benjamin Himes, Francesca Colizzi, Pier Giorgio Natali, Meenhard Herlyn, Michele Maio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Neoplastic populations with stem cell potential have been most recently identified in human cutaneous melanoma, and initially characterized for their phenotypic profile. Being melanoma stem cells (MSC) the most desirable target of therapeutic intervention, we asked whether they express the epigenetically-regulated cancer testis antigens (CTA) on which melanoma immunotherapy is increasingly focusing. Reverse transcription-PCR analyses identified the presence of the large majority of investigated CTA (i.e., MAGE, GAGE, NY-ESO, and SSX families) in different MSC populations. MSC expressed MAGE-A proteins as detected by western blot; noteworthy, the distribution of MAGE-A proteins was highly homogeneous within given MSC populations as shown by confocal immunofluorescence. Promoter methylation studies unveiled a homogeneously-demethylated MAGE-A3 promoter that paired MAGE-A3 expression in MSC. Altogether these findings demonstrate that MSC can be efficiently targeted by CTA-directed immunotherapeutic approaches, and suggest that epigenetic patterns most likely drive the expression of CTA in MSC as previously shown for melanoma cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-291
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Volume215
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology

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