Here we report the identification of a novel human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B44-restricted minor histocompatibility antigen (mHA) with expression limited to hematopoietic cells. cDNA expression cloning studies demonstrated that the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitope of interest was encoded by a novel allelic splice variant of HMSD, hereafter designated as HMSD-v. The immunogenicity of the epitope was generated by differential protein expression due to alternative splicing, which was completely controlled by 1 intronic single-nucleotide polymorphism located in the consensus 5′ splice site adjacent to an exon. Both HMSD-v and HMSD transcripts were selectively expressed at higher levels in mature dendritic cells and primary leukemia cells, especially those of myeloid lineage. Engraftment of mHA+ myeloid leukemia stem cells in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID)/γcnull mice was completely inhibited by in vitro preincubation with the mHA-specific CTL clone, suggesting that this mHA is expressed on leukemic stem cells. The patient from whom the CTL clone was isolated demonstrated a significant increase of the mHA-specific T cells in posttransplantation peripheral blood, whereas mHA-specific T cells were undetectable in pretransplantation peripheral blood and in peripheral blood from his donor. These findings suggest that the HMSD-v-encoded mHA (designated ACC-6) could serve as a target antigen for immunotherapy against hematologic malignancies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology