A processed pseudogene codes for a new antigen recognized by a CD8(+) T cell clone on melanoma.
The M88.7 T cell clone recognizes an antigen presented by HLA B*1302 on the melanoma cell line M88. A cDNA encoding this antigen (NA88-A) was isolated using a library transfection approach. Analysis of the genomic gene's sequence identified it is a processed pseudogene, derived from a retrotranscript of mRNA coding for homeoprotein HPX42B. The NA88-A gene exhibits several premature stop codons, deletions, and insertions relative to the HPX42B gene. In NA88-A RNA, a short open reading frame codes for the peptide MTQGQHFLQKV from which antigenic peptides are derived; a stop codon follows the peptide's COOH-terminal Val codon. Part of the HPX42B mRNA's 3' untranslated region codes for a peptide of similar sequence (MTQGQHFSQKV). If produced, this peptide can be recognized by M88.7 T cells. However, in HPX42B mRNA, the peptide's COOH-terminal Val codon is followed by a Trp codon. As a result, expression of HPX42B mRNA does not lead to antigen production. A model is proposed for events that participated in creation of a gene coding for a melanoma antigen from a pseudogene.