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1.  Overexpression of MAGE-D4 in colorectal cancer is a potentially prognostic biomarker and immunotherapy target 
Melanoma-associated antigen D4 (MAGE-D4) is a novel member of MAGE family. This study aimed to examine the expression and immunogenicity of MAGE-D4 in colorectal cancer (CRC) to determine its potential as a prognosis and immunotherapeutic target. The expression of MAGE-D4 mRNA and protein was determined by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) in CRCs with paired adjacent non-tumor tissues, colorectal adenomas and normal colorectal tissues, respectively. Sera from 64 CRC patients were tested for MAGE-D4 antibody by ELISA. MAGE-D4 mRNA was more frequently expressed in CRCs (76.7%, 46/60) than in adjacent non-tumor tissues (15.0%, 9/60). MAGE-D4 protein was detected in all the CRC tissues tested, 70.0% of which showed high expression. There was no MAGE-D4 protein detected in any paired adjacent non-tumor tissue. No MAGE-D4 expression was found in colorectal adenomas and normal colorectal tissues by either RT-PCR or immunohistochemistry. Patients with high MAGE-D4 protein expression had significantly shorter overall survival than those with low MAGE-D4 protein expression (median, 68.6 vs 122.2 months; P=0.030). Furthermore, multivariate analysis exhibited high MAGE-D4 protein expression had a trend toward an independent prognostic factor (hazard ratio: 6.124; P=0.050). Humoral immunity to MAGE-D4 was detected in 12 of 64 (18.8%) CRC patients’ sera but not in 77 healthy donors. There was no correlation between MAGE-D4 expression, serum antibody and clinicopathological parameters. These findings suggest MAGE-D4 may serve as a potentially prognostic biomarker and an attractive target of immunotherapy in CRC.
PMCID: PMC4129003  PMID: 25120768
Melanoma-associated antigen; MAGE-D4; colorectal cancer; serum immunoreactivity
2.  Epigenetic modulation of MAGE-A3 antigen expression in multiple myeloma following treatment with the demethylation agent 5-azacitidine and the histone deacetlyase inhibitor MGCD0103 
Cytotherapy  2010;13(5):618-628.
Background aims
Immunotherapy targeting MAGE-A3 in multiple myeloma (MM) could eradicate highly aggressive and proliferative clonal cell populations responsible for relapse. However, expression of many cancer-testis antigens, including MAGE-A3, can be heterogeneous, leading to the potential for tumor escape despite MAGE-A3-induced immunity. We hypothesized that a combination of the hypomethylating agent 5-azacitidine (5AC) and the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) MGCD0103 (MGC) could induce MAGE-A3 expression in MAGE-A3-negative MM, resulting in recognition and killing of MM cells by MAGE-A3-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL).
Methods
Gene expression analyses of MAGE-A3 expression in primary MM patient samples at diagnosis and relapse were completed to identify populations that would benefit from MAGE-A3 immunotherapy. MM cell lines were treated with 5AC and MGC. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Western blotting were performed to assess MAGE-A3 RNA and protein levels, respectively. Chromium-release assays and interferon (IFN) secretion assays were employed to ascertain MAGE-A3 CTL specificity against treated targets.
Results
Gene expression analysis revealed that MAGE-A3 is expressed in MM patients at diagnosis (25%) and at relapse (49%). We observed de novo expression of MAGE-A3 RNA and protein in MAGE-A3-negative cell lines treated with 5AC. MGC treatment alone did not induce expression but sequential 5AC/MGC treatment led to enhanced expression and augmented recognition by MAGE-A3-specific CTL, as assessed by 51Cr-release assays (P = 0.047) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for IFN-γ secretion (P = 0.004).
Conclusions
MAGE-A3 is an attractive target for immunotherapy of MM and epigenetic modulation by 5AC, and MGC can induce MAGE-A3 expression and facilitate killing by MAGE-A3-specific CTL.
doi:10.3109/14653249.2010.529893
PMCID: PMC3633222  PMID: 21171821
5-azacitidine; cancer-testis antigen; demethylation; epigenetics; histone deactylase inhibitor; hypomethylation; MAGE-A3; MGCD0103; multiple myeloma
3.  Expression of tumor-specific antigen MAGE, GAGE and BAGE in ovarian cancer tissues and cell lines 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:163.
Background
To observe mRNA expression of tumor-specific antigen MAGE, BAGE and GAGE in epithelial ovarian cancer tissues and cell lines, to explore the relationship between gene expression and diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of ovarian cancer, and to evaluate the feasibility of their gene products as markers, and an immunotherapy target for ovarian cancer.
Methods
mRNA expression of MAGE-1, MAGE-3, GAGE-1/2 and BAGE were determined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in 14 cases of normal ovarian tissue, 20 cases of ovarian benign tumor specimens, 41 cases of ovarian cancer specimens, and ovarian cancer cell lines SKOV3, A2780, and COC1.
Results
MAGE, GAGE and BAGE genes were not expressed in normal ovarian tissue. In benign tumors, only the MAGE gene was expressed; the expression rate of this gene in benign tumors was 15% (3/20). In ovarian cancer tissues, MAGE-1 and MAGE-3 was highly expressed, with expression rates of 53.7% (22/41) and 36.6% (15/41), while GAGE-1/2 and BAGE had relatively low expression, with rates of 26.8% (11/41) and 14.6% (6/41). In metastatic lesions of ovarian cancer, only MAGE-1 and BAGE were expressed, with expression rates of 28.6% (2/7) and 14.3% (1/7). The positive expression rates of MAGE-1 and MAGE-3 in serous cystadenocarcinoma were significantly higher than that in other types of ovarian cancer (P < 0.05). Gene expression rate was not correlated with menopause or lymph node metastasis. Positive expression of MAGE-1 and MAGE-3 was positively correlated with tumor differentiation and the clinical stage of the ovarian cancer. In addition, the positive expression rate of BAGE was significantly higher in ovarian cancer patients with ascites (P < 0.05). The mRNA expression profiles of MAGE, GAGE and BAGE in ovarian carcinoma cell lines SKOV3, A2780 and COC1 varied, but there was at least one gene expressed in each cell line.
Conclusion
Tumor-specific antigen MAGE, BAGE and GAGE may play a role in the occurrence and development of ovarian cancer. These genes can be used as one of the important indicators for early diagnosis, efficacy evaluation and prognostic determination of ovarian cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-163
PMCID: PMC2868811  PMID: 20423514
4.  Expression and clinical significance of cancer-testis genes in clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
Cancer-testis (CT) antigens, which are encoded by CT genes, have been recognized as a group of highly attractive targets for cancer immunotherapy. However, the expression and clinical relevance of CT genes in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) remains largely unknown. The present study aims to analyze the expression profile of 6 individual CT genes including MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3, MAGE-A12, cTAGE-1, cTAGE-2, and NY-ESO-1 in ccRCC and further investigate their possible correlations with clinicopathologic characteristics. The mRNA expressions of these CT genes were detected using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in 105 ccRCC tissue samples (T1-2 in 70 samples, T3-4 in 35 samples; G1-2 in 65 samples, G3-4 in 40 samples) as well as the paired adjacent normal tissues. The most frequently expressed CT gene was MAGE-A3 (27.6%), followed by MAGE-A12 (23.8%), NY-ESO-1 (21%), MAGE-A1 (20%), cTAGE-1 (17.1%), and cTAGE-2 (14.3%). In contrast, no expression of CT genes was detected in the paired adjacent normal tissues. Furthermore, the MAGE-A3 protein expression was determined by Western blot and immunohistochemistry. MAGE-A3 protein was expressed in 21.9% ccRCC samples with a cytoplasmic staining pattern. No MAGE-A3 protein expression was found in the paired adjacent normal tissues. There was a significant correlation between MAGE-A3 expression at both mRNA (P =0.045) and protein (P = 0.03) levels with advanced stages of the disease. Taken together, CT genes may serve as promising targets of specific immunotherapy for ccRCC and particularly, MAGE-A3 may serve as a potential prognostic marker for ccRCC patients.
PMCID: PMC4129025  PMID: 25120790
Cancer-testis (CT) gene; clear cell renal cell carcinoma; immunotherapy; prognosis
5.  Quantitative Expression and Immunogenicity of MAGE-3 and -6 in Upper Aerodigestive Tract Cancer 
The MAGE antigens are frequently expressed cancer vaccine targets. However, quantitative analysis of MAGE expression in upper aero-digestive tract (UADT) tumor cells and its association with T cell recognition has not been performed, hindering the selection of appropriate candidates for MAGE specific immunotherapy. Using quantitative RT-PCR (QRT-PCR), we evaluated the expression of MAGE-3/6 in 65 UADT cancers, 48 normal samples from tumor matched sites and 7 HLA-A*0201+squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) cell lines. Expression results were confirmed using western blot. HLA-A*0201:MAGE-3(271–279) specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (MAGE-CTL) from SCCHN patients and healthy donors showed that MAGE-3/6 expression was highly associated with CTL recognition in vitro. Based on MAGE-3/6 expression we could identify 31 (47%) of the 65 UADT tumors which appeared to express MAGE-3/6 at levels that correlated with efficient CTL recognition. To confirm that the level of MAGE-3 expression was responsible for CTL recognition, two MAGE-3/6 mRNAhigh SCCHN cell lines, PCI-13 and PCI-30, were subjected to MAGE-3/6 specific knockdown. RNAi–transfected cells showed that MAGE expression, and MAGE-CTL recognition, were significantly reduced. Furthermore, treatment of cells expressing low MAGE-3/6 mRNA with a demethylating agent, 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (DAC), increased the expression of MAGE-3/6 and CTL recognition. Thus, using QRT-PCR UADT cancers frequently express MAGE-3/6 at levels sufficient for CTL recognition, supporting the use of a QRT-PCR based assay for the selection of candidates likely to respond to MAGE-3/6 immunotherapy. Demethylating agents could increase the number of patients amenable for targeting epigenetically modified tumor antigens in vaccine trials.
doi:10.1002/ijc.24590
PMCID: PMC2757316  PMID: 19610063
MAGE; Head and neck cancer; T cells; QRT-PCR
6.  Targeting MAGE-C1/CT7 Expression Increases Cell Sensitivity to the Proteasome Inhibitor Bortezomib in Multiple Myeloma Cell Lines 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27707.
The MAGE-C1/CT7 encodes a cancer/testis antigen (CTA), is located on the chromosomal region Xq26–27 and is highly polymorphic in humans. MAGE-C1/CT7 is frequently expressed in multiple myeloma (MM) that may be a potential target for immunotherapy in this still incurable disease. MAGEC1/CT7 expression is restricted to malignant plasma cells and it has been suggested that MAGE-C1/CT7 might play a pathogenic role in MM; however, the exact function this protein in the pathophysiology of MM is not yet understood. Our objectives were (1) to clarify the role of MAGE-C1/CT7 in the control of cellular proliferation and cell cycle in myeloma and (2) to evaluate the impact of silencing MAGE-C1/CT7 on myeloma cells treated with bortezomib. Myeloma cell line SKO-007 was transduced for stable expression of shRNA-MAGE-C1/CT7. Downregulation of MAGE-C1/CT7 was confirmed by real time quantitative PCR and western blot. Functional assays included cell proliferation, cell invasion, cell cycle analysis and apoptosis. Western blot showed a 70–80% decrease in MAGE-C1/CT7 protein expression in inhibited cells (shRNA-MAGE-C1/CT7) when compared with controls. Functional assays did not indicate a difference in cell proliferation and DNA synthesis when inhibited cells were compared with controls. However, we found a decreased percentage of cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle among inhibited cells, but not in the controls (p<0.05). When myeloma cells were treated with bortezomib, we observed a 48% reduction of cells in the G2/M phase among inhibited cells while controls showed 13% (empty vector) and 9% (ineffective shRNA) reduction, respectively (p<0.01). Furthermore, inhibited cells treated with bortezomib showed an increased percentage of apoptotic cells (Annexin V+/PI-) in comparison with bortezomib-treated controls (p<0.001). We found that MAGE-C1/CT7 protects SKO-007 cells against bortezomib-induced apoptosis. Therefore, we could speculate that MAGE-C1/CT7 gene therapy could be a strategy for future therapies in MM, in particular in combination with proteasome inhibitors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027707
PMCID: PMC3218015  PMID: 22110734
7.  MAGE A1-A6 RT-PCR and MAGE A3 and p16 methylation analysis in induced sputum from patients with lung cancer and non-malignant lung diseases 
Oncology Reports  2011;27(4):911-916.
The melanoma antigen gene (MAGE) A1-A6 RT-PCR system was developed for the detection of lung cancer cells in the sputum. However, we identified MAGE expression in some patients with non-malignant lung diseases. To understand these patterns of MAGE expression, we performed MAGE A3 methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and p16 MSP. We collected 24 biopsy specimens of lung cancer tissue and performed MAGE A1-A6 RT-PCR, MAGE A3 MSP and p16 MSP. RNA and DNA were simultaneously extracted from induced sputum specimens of 133 patients with lung diseases and 30 random sputum specimens of healthy individuals and the 3 molecular analyses were performed. The patients were diagnosed as 65 cases of lung cancer and 68 of benign lung diseases. Positive rates of MAGE A1-A6 RT-PCR, MAGE A3 MSP and p16 MSP were as follows: in lung cancer tissue, 87.5, 58.3 and 70.8%; in the sputum of lung cancer patients, 50.8, 46.2 and 63.1%; benign lung diseases, 10.3, 30.9 and 39.7%; and healthy individuals, 3.3, 6.7 and 3.3%. Of the 40 MAGE-positive cases, 33 were diagnosed with lung cancer and 7 as having benign lung diseases. From the 7 cases of MAGE-positive benign lung diseases, 6 cases showed methylation abnormalities. The MAGE-positive group revealed significantly higher rates of methylation abnormalities. Of the 40 MAGE-positive cases, 39 cases were found to be lung cancer or benign lung diseases with abnormal methylation. Thus, MAGE expression in the sputum suggests the presence of lung cancer cells or pre-cancerous cells.
doi:10.3892/or.2011.1566
PMCID: PMC3583547  PMID: 22134685
lung cancer; sputum; melanoma antigen gene RT-PCR; melanoma antigen gene A3; p16; methylation
8.  Detection of Lung Cancer using MAGE A1-6 and SSX4 RT-PCR Expression Profiles in the Bronchial Wash Fluid 
Purpose
Bronchial wash fluid may be a useful for detecting lung cancer. To increase the detection rates, we performed molecular analysis with using MAGE A1-6 and SSX4 RT-PCR on bronchial wash fluid specimens.
Materials and Methods
We obtained 57 lung cancer tissue specimens by bronchoscopic biopsy and 131 bronchial washes from 96 patients with lung cancer and 35 patients with benign lung diseases. The MAGE A1-6 and SSX4 gene expressions were investigated in the cancer tissue specimens and bronchial wash fluids. We evaluated the positive detection rates of these methods according to the cytology results and the clinical findings.
Results
For the cancer tissue specimens and the bronchial wash fluid, the positive detection rate of MAGE or SSX4 was 91.2% and 75.0%, respectively. Combined MAGE and SSX4 PCR and cytology tests showed an 83.3% detection rate for the bronchial wash fluid. From bronchial washes of patients with benign lung diseases, the positive rates of using MAGE or SSX4 was 11.4%. In the bronchial wash fluid of lung cancer patients, 66.7% of the peripheral cancers were detected by MAGE or SSX4, while examination with cytology did not detect any peripheral lung cancer.
Conclusion
The application of both MAGE and SSX4 showed high sensitivity and specificity for the detection of lung cancer. Thus, MAGE and SSX4 RT-PCR may be effectively utilized as additional methods to improve detection of lung cancer with using bronchial wash fluids.
doi:10.4143/crt.2007.39.2.69
PMCID: PMC2739316  PMID: 19746211
MAGE; SSX; Cytology; Bronchial wash
9.  Integrative Genomic Analyses Identify BRF2 as a Novel Lineage-Specific Oncogene in Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(7):e1000315.
William Lockwood and colleagues show that the focal amplification of a gene, BRF2, on Chromosome 8p12 plays a key role in squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.
Background
Traditionally, non-small cell lung cancer is treated as a single disease entity in terms of systemic therapy. Emerging evidence suggests the major subtypes—adenocarcinoma (AC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC)—respond differently to therapy. Identification of the molecular differences between these tumor types will have a significant impact in designing novel therapies that can improve the treatment outcome.
Methods and Findings
We used an integrative genomics approach, combing high-resolution comparative genomic hybridization and gene expression microarray profiles, to compare AC and SqCC tumors in order to uncover alterations at the DNA level, with corresponding gene transcription changes, which are selected for during development of lung cancer subtypes. Through the analysis of multiple independent cohorts of clinical tumor samples (>330), normal lung tissues and bronchial epithelial cells obtained by bronchial brushing in smokers without lung cancer, we identified the overexpression of BRF2, a gene on Chromosome 8p12, which is specific for development of SqCC of lung. Genetic activation of BRF2, which encodes a RNA polymerase III (Pol III) transcription initiation factor, was found to be associated with increased expression of small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) that are involved in processes essential for cell growth, such as RNA splicing. Ectopic expression of BRF2 in human bronchial epithelial cells induced a transformed phenotype and demonstrates downstream oncogenic effects, whereas RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown suppressed growth and colony formation of SqCC cells overexpressing BRF2, but not AC cells. Frequent activation of BRF2 in >35% preinvasive bronchial carcinoma in situ, as well as in dysplastic lesions, provides evidence that BRF2 expression is an early event in cancer development of this cell lineage.
Conclusions
This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show that the focal amplification of a gene in Chromosome 8p12, plays a key role in squamous cell lineage specificity of the disease. Our data suggest that genetic activation of BRF2 represents a unique mechanism of SqCC lung tumorigenesis through the increase of Pol III-mediated transcription. It can serve as a marker for lung SqCC and may provide a novel target for therapy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Lung cancer is the commonest cause of cancer-related death. Every year, 1.3 million people die from this disease, which is mainly caused by smoking. Most cases of lung cancer are “non-small cell lung cancers” (NSCLCs). Like all cancers, NSCLC starts when cells begin to divide uncontrollably and to move round the body (metastasize) because of changes (mutations) in their genes. These mutations are often in “oncogenes,” genes that, when activated, encourage cell division. Oncogenes can be activated by mutations that alter the properties of the proteins they encode or by mutations that increase the amount of protein made from them, such as gene amplification (an increase in the number of copies of a gene). If NSCLC is diagnosed before it has spread from the lungs (stage I disease), it can be surgically removed and many patients with stage I NSCLC survive for more than 5 years after their diagnosis. Unfortunately, in more than half of patients, NSCLC has metastasized before it is diagnosed. This stage IV NSCLC can be treated with chemotherapy (toxic chemicals that kill fast-growing cancer cells) but only 2% of patients with stage IV lung cancer are alive 5 years after diagnosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
Traditionally, NSCLC has been regarded as a single disease in terms of treatment. However, emerging evidence suggests that the two major subtypes of NSCLC—adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC)—respond differently to chemotherapy. Adenocarcinoma and SqCC start in different types of lung cell and experts think that for each cell type in the body, specific combinations of mutations interact with the cell type's own unique characteristics to provide the growth and survival advantage needed for cancer development. If this is true, then identifying the molecular differences between adenocarcinoma and SqCC could provide targets for more effective therapies for these major subtypes of NSCLC. Amplification of a chromosome region called 8p12 is very common in NSCLC, which suggests that an oncogene that drives lung cancer development is present in this chromosome region. In this study, the researchers investigate this possibility by looking for an amplified gene in the 8p12 chromosome region that makes increased amounts of protein in lung SqCC but not in lung adenocarcinoma.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a technique called comparative genomic hybridization to show that focal regions of Chromosome 8p are amplified in about 40% of lung SqCCs, but that DNA loss in this region is the most common alteration in lung adenocarcinomas. Ten genes in the 8p12 chromosome region were expressed at higher levels in the SqCC samples that they examined than in adenocarcinoma samples, they report, and overexpression of five of these genes correlated with amplification of the 8p12 region in the SqCC samples. Only one of the genes—BRF2—was more highly expressed in squamous carcinoma cells than in normal bronchial epithelial cells (the cell type that lines the tubes that take air into the lungs and from which SqCC develops). Artificially induced expression of BRF2 in bronchial epithelial cells made these normal cells behave like tumor cells, whereas reduction of BRF2 expression in squamous carcinoma cells made them behave more like normal bronchial epithelial cells. Finally, BRF2 was frequently activated in two early stages of squamous cell carcinoma—bronchial carcinoma in situ and dysplastic lesions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Together, these findings show that the focal amplification of chromosome region 8p12 plays a role in the development of lung SqCC but not in the development of lung adenocarcinoma, the other major subtype of NSCLC. These findings identify BRF2 (which encodes a RNA polymerase III transcription initiation factor, a protein that is required for the synthesis of RNA molecules that help to control cell growth) as a lung SqCC-specific oncogene and uncover a unique mechanism for lung SqCC development. Most importantly, these findings suggest that genetic activation of BRF2 could be used as a marker for lung SqCC, which might facilitate the early detection of this type of NSCLC and that BRF2 might provide a new target for therapy.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000315.
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and professionals about all aspects of lung cancer, including information on non-small cell carcinoma (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK also provides information about lung cancer and information on how cancer starts
MedlinePlus has links to other resources about lung cancer (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000315
PMCID: PMC2910599  PMID: 20668658
10.  Pattern of cancer/testis antigen expression in lung cancer patients 
Cancer/testis (CT) antigens represent promising targets for immunotherapy. We investigated the composite expression of 13 CT antigens by RT-PCR in 79 lung cancer tissues and by immunohistochemistry in 22 lung cancer tissues. In the 79 lung cancer tissues, MAGE-3 (42%) was expressed most frequently and followed by NY-SAR-35 (33%), NY-ESO-1 (30%), MAGE-1 (27%), CT-7 (20%), MAGE-4 (19%), LAGE-1 (16%), and MAGE-10 (14%). Twenty-one tissues did not express any of the CT antigens tested, 58 (73%) expressed at least one, 36 (46%) co-expressed two, 24 (30%) co-expressed three, 17 (22%) co-expressed four, 14 (18%) co-expressed five, 8 (10%) co-expressed six, 4 (6%) co-expressed seven and 2 tissues expressed 9 of the 13 examined CT antigens. Expression of CT antigens was significantly associated with age (P<0.001), smoking history (P=0.009), and gender (P=0.001) of patients, whereas no correlation was found between the expression of CT antigens and other clinical factors, such as pT status, pN status, tumor stage, and histology history. The present results show that CT antigens are potential candidates in lung cancer patients for polyvalent immunotherapy.
doi:10.3892/ijmm.2012.896
PMCID: PMC3573764  PMID: 22294213
lung cancer; cancer/testis antigen; cancer immunotherapy; MAGE-3; NY-SAR-35
11.  Expression and Immune Responses to MAGE Antigens Predict Survival in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104099.
The MAGE cancer-testis antigens (CTA) are attractive candidates for immunotherapy. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of expression, humoral immunity and prognostic significance of MAGE CTA in human epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). mRNA or protein expression frequencies were determined for MAGE-A1, -A3, -A4, -A10 and -C1 (CT7) in tissue samples obtained from 400 patients with EOC. The presence of autologous antibodies against the MAGE antigens was determined from 285 serum samples. The relationships between MAGE expression, humoral immunity to MAGE antigens, and clinico-pathologic characteristics were studied. The individual frequencies of expression were as follows: A1: 15% (42/281), A3: 36% (131/390), A4: 47% (186/399), A10: 52% (204/395), C1: 16% (42/267). Strong concordant expression was noted with MAGE-A1:–A4, MAGE-A1:–C1 and MAGE-A4:–A10 (p<0.0005). Expression of MAGE-A1 or -A10 antigens resulted in poor progression free survival (PFS) (OR 1.44, CI 1.01–2.04, p = 0.044 and OR 1.3, CI 1.03–1.64, p = 0.03, respectively); whereas, MAGE-C1 expression was associated with improved PFS (OR 0.62, CI 0.42–0.92, p = 0.016). The improved PFS observed for MAGE-C1 expression, was diminished by co-expression of MAGE-A1 or -A10. Spontaneous humoral immunity to the MAGE antigens was present in 9% (27/285) of patients, and this predicted poor overall survival (log-rank test p = 0.0137). These findings indicate that MAGE-A1, MAGE-A4, MAGE-A3, and MAGE-A10 are priority attractive targets for polyvalent immunotherapy in ovarian cancer patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104099
PMCID: PMC4125181  PMID: 25101620
12.  Analysis of expression profiles of MAGE-A antigens in oral squamous cell carcinoma cell lines 
Head & Face Medicine  2009;5:10.
Background
The immunological response to solid tumours is insufficient. Therefore, tumour specific antigens have been explored to facilitate the activation of the immune system. The cancer/testis antigen class of MAGE-A antigens is a possible target for vaccination. Their differential expression profiles also modulate the course of the cancer disease and its response to antineoplastic drugs.
Methods
The expression profiles of MAGE-A2, -A3, -A4, -A6 and -A10 in five own oral squamous cell carcinoma cell lines were characterised by rt-PCR, qrt-PCR and immunocytochemistry with a global MAGE-A antibody (57B) and compared with those of an adult keratinocyte cell line (NHEK).
Results
All tumour cell lines expressed MAGE-A antigens. The antigens were expressed in groups with different preferences. The predominant antigens expressed were MAGE-A2, -A3 and -A6. MAGE-A10 was not expressed in the cell lines tested. The MAGE-A gene products detected in the adult keratinocyte cell line NHEK were used as a reference.
Conclusion
MAGE-A antigens are expressed in oral squamous cell carcinomas. The expression profiles measured facilitate distinct examinations in forthcoming studies on responses to antineoplastic drugs or radiation therapy. MAGE-A antigens are still an interesting aim for immunotherapy.
doi:10.1186/1746-160X-5-10
PMCID: PMC2690579  PMID: 19358718
13.  MAGE-A inhibits apoptosis in proliferating myeloma cells through repression of Bax and maintenance of survivin 
Purpose
The type I Melanoma Antigen GEnes (MAGEs) are commonly expressed in cancers, fueling speculation that they may be therapeutic targets with oncogenic potential. They form complexes with RING domain proteins that have E3 ubiquitin ligase activity and promote p53 degradation. MAGE-A3 was detected in tumor specimens from patients with multiple myeloma and its expression correlated with higher frequencies of Ki-67+ malignant cells. In this report, we examine the mechanistic role of MAGE-A in promoting survival of proliferating multiple myeloma cells.
Experimental Design
The impact of MAGE-A3 expression on survival and proliferation in vivo was examined by immunohistochemical analysis in an independent set of tumor specimens segregated into two groups; newly diagnosed, untreated patients and patients who had relapsed after chemotherapy. The mechanisms of MAGE-A3 activity were investigated in vitro by silencing its expression by shRNA interference in myeloma cell lines and primary cells and assessing the resultant effects on proliferation and apoptosis.
Results
MAGE-A3 was detected in a significantly higher percentage of relapsed patients compared to newly diagnosed, establishing a novel correlation with progression of disease. Silencing of MAGE-A demonstrated that it was dispensable for cell cycling, but was required for survival of proliferating myeloma cells. Loss of MAGE-A led to apoptosis mediated by p53-dependent activation of pro-apoptotic Bax expression and by reduction of survivin expression through both p53-dependent and independent mechanisms.
Conclusions
These data support a role for MAGE-A in the pathogenesis and progression of multiple myeloma by inhibiting apoptosis in proliferating myeloma cells through two novel mechanisms.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-1820
PMCID: PMC3131419  PMID: 21565982
MAGE; Cancer-Testis Antigen; multiple myeloma; apoptosis; survivin
14.  The significance of MAGED4 expression in non-small cell lung cancer as analyzed by real-time fluorescence quantitative PCR 
Oncology Letters  2012;4(4):733-738.
The aim of this study was to detect differences in the expression levels of melanoma-associated antigen D4 (MAGED4) mRNA between non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tissues and normal tissues, and to compare differences in the expression levels of MAGED4 in tumor patients. Patients were grouped according to age, gender, smoking history, tumor size, pathological classification, degree of lung cancer cell differentiation and presence of lymph node metastasis. The expression levels of MAGED4 were detected using real-time fluorescence quantitative PCR. MAGED4 expression was higher in squamous cell carcinomas compared to adenocarcinomas (P<0.05), in poorly differentiated tissues compared to well-differentiated tissues (P<0.05), and in patients with lymph node metastasis compared to patients without lymph node metastasis (P<0.05). MAGED4 may be used as a specific antigen for NSCLC to influence the improvement of diagnosis, prognosis and immunological therapy outcomes in lung cancer patients.
doi:10.3892/ol.2012.786
PMCID: PMC3506701  PMID: 23205092
MAGED4 gene; non-small cell lung cancer; polymerase chain reaction
15.  Detection of MAGE-A3 in breast cancer patients’ sentinel lymph nodes 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;85(9):1340-1346.
The detection of occult metastatic breast cancer cells by RT-PCR is limited by the poor specificity of most tumour mRNA markers. MAGE-A3 is a highly specific tumour mRNA marker that is not expressed in non-cancer cells. This study assesses MAGE-A3 mRNA as a molecular marker for the detection of tumour cells in the sentinel lymph nodes (SLN) of breast cancer patients. Serial frozen sections of SLN (n= 121) were obtained from 77 AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) Stage I–IIIA breast cancer patients. MAGE-A3 mRNA analysis of SLN was performed by RT-PCR and Southern blot analysis. Tumour cells were detected in 48 of 121 (40%) SLN from 77 patients by H&E or IHC staining, and 35 of 77 (45%) patients, overall, had histopathologically (H&E and/or IHC) positive SLN. Among histopathologically negative SLN, 28 of 73 (38%) SLN were MAGE-A3 mRNA positive by RT-PCR. Overall, 41 of 77 (53%) patients and 50 of 121 (41%) SLN were positive for MAGE-A3. MAGE-A3 mRNA expression in the SLN occurred more frequently with infiltrating lobular carcinoma (P< 0.001) than with infiltrating ductal carcinoma, adding further evidence of possible phenotypic differences between these 2 subtypes of breast cancer. Due to its high specificity, MAGE-A3 mRNA is a potentially useful marker for detecting breast cancer cells in the SLN. One half of breast tumours expressed MAGE-A3 mRNA, which has important potential implications for antigen-specific targeted immunotherapy. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign
doi:10.1054/bjoc.2001.2079
PMCID: PMC2375232  PMID: 11720472
breast cancer; MAGE-A3; micrometastases; RT-PCR; sentinel lymph node
16.  Aberrant expression of melanoma-associated antigen-D2 serves as a prognostic indicator of hepatocellular carcinoma outcome following curative hepatectomy 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(3):1201-1206.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common cause of cancer-related mortality globally. Since the prognosis of advanced HCC patients is extremely poor, the development of novel molecular targets for diagnosis and therapy is urgently required. In the present study, the expression of the melanoma-associated antigen-D2 (MAGE-D2) gene was investigated to determine whether it affects the malignant phenotype of HCC and thus, may serve as a marker of prognosis. Therefore, the expression of MAGE-D2 mRNA and MAGE-D2 protein in nine HCC cell lines and 151 pairs of surgical tissues was analyzed. mRNA expression levels were analyzed using reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry was used to compare the clinicopathological parameters of the tumors. A significant difference in the level of MAGE-D2 expression was observed between the normal liver and chronic hepatitis tissues, however, no significant differences were identified among the levels of the chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and HCC tissues. The expression patterns of the MAGE-D2 protein were consistent with those of its mRNA. The expression levels of MAGE-D2 mRNA in 66 of 151 (44%) patients were higher in the HCC tissues compared with the corresponding non-cancerous tissues. In addition, the disease-specific survival time was significantly shorter for patients with higher levels of MAGE-D2 mRNA expression. Multivariate analysis identified increased expression of MAGE-D2 mRNA as an independent prognostic factor for disease-specific survival (hazard ratio, 2.65; 95% confidence interval, 1.43–4.98; P=0.002). However, increased expression levels of MAGE-D2 mRNA were not significantly associated with other clinicopathological parameters, including extrahepatic recurrence. These results indicated that MAGE-D2 mRNA affects tumor progression and may serve as a prognostic indicator following curative resection. In addition, MAGE-D2 may provide a target for the therapy of HCC.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.2823
PMCID: PMC4314984  PMID: 25663882
hepatocellular carcinoma; expression; prognosis; melanoma-associated antigen-D2
17.  Fusion of Hsp70 to Mage-a1 enhances the potency of vaccine-specific immune responses 
Background
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are capable of promoting antigen presentation of chaperoned peptides through interactions with receptors on antigen presenting cells. This property of HSPs suggests a potential function as an adjuvant-free carrier to stimulate immune responses against a covalently linked fusion partner. MAGE-A1 is a likely candidate for tumor immunotherapy due to its abundant immunogenic epitopes and strict tumor specificity. To analyze the influence of HSP70 conjugation to MAGE-A1, towards developing a novel effective vaccine against MAGE-expressing tumors, we cloned the murine counterpart of the human HSP70 and MAGE-A1 genes.
Methods
Recombinant proteins expressing Mage-a1 (aa 118–219), Hsp70, and Mage-a1-Hsp70 fusion were purified and used to immunize C57BL/6 mice. The humoral and cellular responses elicited against Mage-a1 were measured by ELISA, IFN-γ ELISPOT assay, and cytotoxicity assay.
Results
Immunization of mice with Mage-a1-Hsp70 fusion protein elicited significantly higher Mage-a1-specific antibody titers than immunization with either Mage-a1 alone or a combination of Mage-a1 + Hsp70. The frequency of IFN-γ-producing cells and the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity was also elevated. Consistent with the elevated immune response, immunization with fusion protein induced potent in vivo antitumor immunity against MAGE-a1-expressing tumors.
Conclusions
These results indicate that the fusion of Hsp70 to Mage-a1 can enhance immune responses and anti-tumor effects against Mage-a1-expressing tumors. Fusion of HSP70 to a tumor antigen may greatly enhance the potency of protein vaccines and can potentially be applied to other cancer systems with known tumor-specific antigens. These findings provide a scientific basis for the development of a novel HSP70 and MAGE fusion protein vaccine against MAGE-expressing tumors.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-11-300
PMCID: PMC4029478  PMID: 24314011
Mage-a1; Heat-shock protein 70; Protein vaccine; Humoral immunity; Cytotoxic T lymphocyte
18.  Expression of MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-C2/CT10 Predicts Lymph Node Metastasis in Melanoma Patients 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21418.
MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-C2/CT10 are members of the large MAGE family of cancer-testis (CT) antigens. CT antigens are promising targets for immunotherapy in cancer because their expression is restricted to cancer and germ line cells and a proportion of cancer patients presents with immune responses against CT antigens, which clearly demonstrates their immunogenicity. This study investigates the expression of MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-C2/CT10 in primary and metastatic melanoma. Immunohistochemical staining of tissue microarrays that consisted of 59 primary malignant melanomas of the skin, 163 lymph node and distant melanoma metastases and 68 melanoma cell lines was performed. We found MAGE-C1/CT7 expression in 15 out of 50 (24%) primary melanomas and 15 out of 50 (24%) cell lines, whereas MAGE-C2/CT10 was detected in 17 out of 51 (33%) primary melanomas and 14 out of 68 (17%) cell lines. MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-C2/CT10 were both detected in 40% of melanoma metastases. Patients with MAGE-C1/CT7 or MAGE-C2/CT10 positive primary melanoma had significantly more lymph node metastases (p = 0.005 and p<0.001, resp.). Prediction of lymph node metastasis by MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-C2/CT10 was independent of tumor cell proliferation rate (Ki67 labeling index) in a multivariate analysis (p = 0.01). Our results suggest that the expression of MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-C2/CT10 in primary melanoma is a potent predictor of sentinel lymph node metastasis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021418
PMCID: PMC3124507  PMID: 21738656
19.  Expression of MAGE-A12 in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
Disease markers  2007;24(1):27-32.
Melanoma associated-A antigens (MAGE-A) are silent in normal tissues except testis. However, they are activated in a variety of different tumors. Thus, their expression is highly specific to cancer cells. Reverse transcription-nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-nPCR) is a highly sensitive technique that has been used successfully for the detection ofMAGE genes in tissue samples. The aim of the study is to analyze the expression rate of MAGE-A12 in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) using a high sensitive RT-nPCR. Total of 57 tissue samples obtained from patients with OSCC and 20 normal oral mucosal (NOM) probes of otherwise healthy volunteers were included to this study. No expression of MAGE-A12 was observed in the non-neoplastic NOM tissues. MAGE-A12 was expressed in 49.1% of the investigated tumor samples. The correlation between malignant lesion and MAGE-A12 detection was significant (p < 0.001). It is concluded that results of this study may indicate MAGE-A12 as a useful additional diagnostic marker especially for the early detection of OSCC distinguishing neoplastic transformation and detection of occult and/or rare disseminated cancer cells. In addition, MAGE-A12 expression in OSCC may also determine a new immunotherapeutic target and might be warranted to develop vaccine for OSCC.
doi:10.1155/2008/359840
PMCID: PMC3850551  PMID: 18057533
20.  MAGE-11 inhibits the hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase PHD2 and activates hypoxic response 
Cancer research  2009;69(2):616-624.
Activation of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs), responsible for tumor angiogenesis and glycolytic switch, is regulated by reduced oxygen availability. Normally, HIF-α proteins are maintained at low levels, controlled by site-specific hydroxylation carried out by HIF prolyl hydroxylases (PHDs), and subsequent proteasomal degradation via the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) ubiquitin ligase. Using a yeast-two hybrid screen, we identified an interaction between MAGE-11 cancer-testis antigen and the major HIF-α hydroxylating enzyme PHD2. The interaction was confirmed by pull-down assay, co-immunoprecipitation and co-localization in both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. Furthermore, MAGE-9, the closest homolog of MAGE-11, was also found to interact with PHD2. MAGE-11 inhibited PHD activity without affecting protein levels. This inhibition was accompanied by stabilization of ectopic or endogenous HIF-1α protein. Knock-down of MAGE-11 by siRNA results in decreased hypoxic induction of HIF-1α and its target genes. Inhibition of PHD by MAGE-11 and following activation of hypoxia-inducible factors is a novel tumor associated HIF regulatory mechanism. This finding provides new insights into the significance of MAGE expression in tumors and may provide valuable tools for therapeutic intervention because of the restricted expression of the MAGE gene family in cancers but not in normal tissues.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-0811
PMCID: PMC2629394  PMID: 19147576
HIF; hypoxia; MAGE-11; PHD2
21.  Circulating tumor and cancer stem cells in hepatitis C virus-associated liver disease 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(48):18240-18248.
AIM: To assess the role of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and cancer stem cells (CSCs) in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated liver disease.
METHODS: Blood and/or tissue samples were obtained from HCV (genotype 4)-associated hepatocellular carcinoma patients (HCC; n = 120), chronic hepatitis C patients (CH; n = 30) and 33 normal control subjects (n = 33). Serum levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), alkaline phosphatase, and alanine and aspartate aminotransferases were measured. Cytokeratin 19 (CK19) monoclonal antibody was used to enumerate CTCs, and CD133 and CD90 were used to enumerate CSCs by flow cytometry. The expression levels of the CSCs markers (CD133 and CD90) as well as telomerase, melanoma antigen encoding gene 1 (MAGE1) and MAGE3 were assessed by RT-PCR and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reactions. The number of CTCs and/or the expression levels of CK19, CD133, telomerase, MAGE1 and MAGE3 were correlated to the standard clinicopathologic prognostic factors and disease progression.
RESULTS: Levels of AFP, alkaline phosphatase and aspartate aminotransferase were significantly different among the HCC, CH and control groups (P < 0.001), whereas alanine aminotransferase differed significantly between patient (HCC and CH) and control groups (P < 0.001). At the specified cutoff values determine by flow cytometry, CK19 (49.8), CD90 (400) and CD133 (73) were significantly higher in the blood of HCC patients compared to those in the CH and control groups (P < 0.001). On the other hand, CD133 at a 69.5 cutoff was significantly higher in the CH compared to the control group (P ≤ 0.001). Telomerase, MAGE1 and MAGE3 RNA were expressed in 55.71%, 60.00% and 62.86% of the HCC patients, respectively, but were not detected in patients in the CH or control groups, which were statistically significant (Ps < 0.001). The expression levels of telomerase, CD90, MAGE3, CD133 and CK19 were all significantly associated with high tumor grade and advanced stage in HCC patients (all Ps < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: CTC counts and AFP, CK19, telomerase, and MAGE1/MAGE3 expression predict disease progression in patients with HCV, whereas telomerase, MAGE3, CD90, CD133 and CK19 are prognostic markers in HCC.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i48.18240
PMCID: PMC4277961  PMID: 25561791
Cancer stem cells; Circulating tumor cells; Hepatitis C virus genotype-4; Hepatocellular carcinoma
22.  MAGE I Transcription Factors Regulate KAP1 and KRAB Domain Zinc Finger Transcription Factor Mediated Gene Repression 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23747.
Class I MAGE proteins (MAGE I) are normally expressed only in developing germ cells but are aberrantly expressed in many cancers. They have been shown to promote tumor survival, aggressive growth, and chemoresistance but the underlying mechanisms and MAGE I functions have not been fully elucidated. KRAB domain zinc finger transcription factors (KZNFs) are the largest group of vertebrate transcription factors and regulate neoplastic transformation, tumor suppression, cellular proliferation, and apoptosis. KZNFs bind the KAP1 protein and direct KAP1 to specific DNA sequences where it suppresses gene expression by inducing localized heterochromatin characterized by histone 3 lysine 9 trimethylation (H3me3K9). Discovery that MAGE I proteins also bind to KAP1 prompted us to investigate whether MAGE I can affect KZNF and KAP1 mediated gene regulation. We found that expression of MAGE I proteins, MAGE-A3 or MAGE-C2, relieved repression of a reporter gene by ZNF382, a KZNF with tumor suppressor activity. ChIP of MAGE I (-) HEK293T cells showed KAP1 and H3me3K9 are normally bound to the ID1 gene, a target of ZNF382, but that binding is greatly reduced in the presence of MAGE I proteins. MAGE I expression relieved KAP1 mediated ID1 repression, causing increased expression of ID1 mRNA and ID1 chromatin relaxation characterized by loss of H3me3K9. MAGE I binding to KAP1 also induced ZNF382 poly-ubiquitination and degradation, consistent with loss of ZNF382 leading to decreased KAP1 binding to ID1. In contrast, MAGE I expression caused increased KAP1 binding to Ki67, another KAP1 target gene, with increased H3me3K9 and decreased Ki67 mRNA expression. Since KZNFs are required to direct KAP1 to specific genes, these results show that MAGE I proteins can differentially regulate members of the KZNF family and KAP1 mediated gene repression.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023747
PMCID: PMC3158099  PMID: 21876767
23.  Evolutionary History of the Cancer Immunity Antigen MAGE Gene Family 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20365.
The evolutionary mode of a multi-gene family can change over time, depending on the functional differentiation and local genomic environment of family members. In this study, we demonstrate such a change in the melanoma antigen (MAGE) gene family on the mammalian X chromosome. The MAGE gene family is composed of ten subfamilies that can be categorized into two types. Type I genes are of relatively recent origin, and they encode epitopes for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) in cancer cells. Type II genes are relatively ancient and some of their products are known to be involved in apoptosis or cell proliferation. The evolutionary history of the MAGE gene family can be divided into four phases. In phase I, a single-copy state of an ancestral gene and the evolutionarily conserved mode had lasted until the emergence of eutherian mammals. In phase II, eight subfamily ancestors, with the exception for MAGE-C and MAGE-D subfamilies, were formed via retrotransposition independently. This would coincide with a transposition burst of LINE elements at the eutherian radiation. However, MAGE-C was generated by gene duplication of MAGE-A. Phase III is characterized by extensive gene duplication within each subfamily and in particular the formation of palindromes in the MAGE-A subfamily, which occurred in an ancestor of the Catarrhini. Phase IV is characterized by the decay of a palindrome in most Catarrhini, with the exception of humans. Although the palindrome is truncated by frequent deletions in apes and Old World monkeys, it is retained in humans. Here, we argue that this human-specific retention stems from negative selection acting on MAGE-A genes encoding epitopes of cancer cells, which preserves their ability to bind to highly divergent HLA molecules. These findings are interpreted with consideration of the biological factors shaping recent human MAGE-A genes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020365
PMCID: PMC3112145  PMID: 21695252
24.  A Mage3/Heat Shock Protein70 DNA Vaccine Induces both Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses for the Antitumor Activity 
Vaccine  2009;28(2):561-570.
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are highly effective and versatile molecules in promoting anti-tumor immune responses. We tested whether a HSP-based DNA vaccine can induce effective immune response against Mage3, a cancer testis (CT) antigen frequently expressed in many human tumors, thereby controlling the Mage3-expressing tumor. The vaccine was constructed by linking human inducible HSP70 to the C-terminus of a modified Mage3 gene (sMage3) that was attached at its N-terminus with the signal leader sequence of the human RANTES for releasing the expressed fusion protein from the transduced cells. Intramuscular injection of sMage3Hsp DNA induced CD4+/CD8+ T cell and antibody responses. Vaccination with sMage3Hsp DNA was more effective in inhibiting Mage3-expressing TC-1 tumors. When we dissected the antitumor activity of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells by immunizing CD4+ and CD8+ knockout mice with sMage3Hsp DNA, we found that both CD8+ T and CD4+ T cells played a role in control of inoculated tumor, but did not constitute the whole of immune protection in the prophylactic immunization. Instead, depletion of natural killer (NK) cells led to a major loss of anti-tumor activity in the immunized mice. These results indicate that the HSP-based Mage3 DNA vaccine can more effectively inhibit tumor growth by inducing both the innate immune responses and Mage3-specific adaptive immune responses via the Hsp-associated adjuvant function.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.09.119
PMCID: PMC2789186  PMID: 19835823
25.  Differential regulation of MAGE-A1 promoter activity by BORIS and Sp1, both interacting with the TATA binding protein 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):796.
Background
As cancer-testis MAGE-A antigens are targets for tumor immunotherapy, it is important to study the regulation of their expression in cancers. This regulation appears to be rather complex and at the moment controversial. Although it is generally accepted that MAGE-A expression is controlled by epigenetics, the exact mechanisms of that control remain poorly understood.
Methods
We analyzed the interplay of another cancer-testis gene, BORIS, and the transcription factors Ets-1 and Sp1 in the regulation of MAGE-A1 gene expression performing luciferase assays, quantitative real-time PCR, sodium bisulfite sequencing, chromatin immunoprecipitation assays and pull down experiments.
Results
We detected that ectopically expressed BORIS could activate and demethylate both endogenous and methylated reporter MAGE-A1 promoter in MCF-7 and micrometastatic BCM1 cancer cell lines. Overexpression of Ets-1 could not further upregulate the promoter activity mediated by BORIS. Surprisingly, in co-transfection experiments we observed that Sp1 partly repressed the BORIS-mediated stimulation, while addition of Ets-1 expression plasmid abrogated the Sp1 mediated repression of MAGE-A1 promoter. Both BORIS and Sp1 interacted with the TATA binding protein (hTBP) suggesting the possibility of a competitive mechanism of action between BORIS and Sp1.
Conclusions
Our findings show that BORIS and Sp1 have opposite effects on the regulation of MAGE-A1 gene expression. This differential regulation may be explained by direct protein-protein interaction of both factors or by interaction of MAGE-A1 promoter with BORIS alternatively spliced isoforms with different sequence specificity. We also show here that ectopic expression of BORIS can activate transcription from its own locus, inducing all its splice variants.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-796) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-796
PMCID: PMC4230356  PMID: 25363021
DNA methylation; Histone modifications; Promoter activation; Protein protein interaction

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