Serological analysis of Melan-A(MART-1), a melanocyte-specific protein homogeneously expressed in human melanomas
Recent progress in the structural identification of human melanoma antigens recognized by autologous cytotoxic T cells has led to the recognition of a new melanocyte differentiation antigen, Melan-A(MART-1). To determine the properties of the Melan-A gene product, Melan-A recombinant protein was produced in Escherichia coli and used to generate mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Two prototype mAbs, A103 and A355, were selected for detailed study. Immunoblotting results with A103 showed a 20-22-kDa doublet In Melan-A mRNA positive melanoma cell lines and no reactivity with Melan-A mRNA-negative cell lines. A355, in addition to the 20-22-kDa doublet, recognized several other protein species in Melan-A mRNA-positive cell lines. Immunocytochemical assays on cultured melanoma cells showed specific and uniform cytoplasmic staining in Melan-A mRNA-positive cell lines. Immunohistochemical analysis of normal human tissues with both mAbs showed staining of adult melanocytes and no reactivity with the other normal tissues tested. Analysis of 21 melanoma specimens showed homogenous staining of tumor cell cytoplasm in 16 of 17 Melan-A mRNA-positive cases and no reactivity with the three Melan-A mRNA-negative cases.