Identification of DRG-1 as a melanoma-associated antigen recognized by CD4+ Th1 cells

Yukiko Kiniwa, Jiang Li, Mingjun Wang, Chuang Sun, Jeffrey E. Lee, Rong Fu Wang, Helen Y. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Immunotherapy has emerged as a promising strategy for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Clinical studies have demonstrated the feasibility of cancer immunotherapy using tumor antigens recognized by CD8+ T cells. However, the overall immune responses induced by these antigens are too weak and transient to induce tumor regression in the majority of patients who received immunization. A growing body of evidence suggests that CD4+ T helper (Th) cells play an important role in antitumor immunity. Therefore, the identification of MHC class II-restricted tumor antigens capable of stimulating CD4+ T cells may provide opportunities for developing effective cancer vaccines. To this end, we describe the identification of developmentally regulated GTP-binding protein 1 (DRG-1) as a melanoma-associated antigen recognized by HLA-DR11-restricted CD4+ Th1 cells. Epitope mapping analysis showed that the DRG1248-268 epitope of DRG-1 was required for T cell recognition. Reverse transcriptionpolymerase chain reaction revealed that DRG-1 was highly expressed in melanoma cell lines but not in normal tissues. DRG-1 knockdown by lentiviral-based shRNA suppressedmelanoma cell proliferation and soft agar colony formation. Taken together, these data suggest that DRG-1 plays an important role inmelanoma cell growth and transformation, indicating that DRG1 may represent a novel target for CD4+ T cell-mediated immunotherapy inmelanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0124094
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 20 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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