We showed previously that mouse mastocytoma P815 expresses several distinct antigens that are recognized by cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL) of syngeneic DBA/2 mice. Antigens P815A and P815B are usually lost jointly and are targets for immune rejection responses in vivo. We used a cosmid library and a CTL stimulation assay to obtain transfectants expressing tumor rejection antigen P815A. From these transfectants we retrieved gene P1A which transferred the expression of both P815A and B. This gene is unrelated to three previously isolated genes coding for tum-antigens. It encodes a putative protein of 224 amino acids which contains two highly acidic domains showing homology with similar regions of nuclear proteins. The P1A gene expressed by tumor P815 is completely identical to the gene present in normal DBA/2 cells. Expression of the gene was tested by Northern blots. Cells from liver, spleen, and a number of mast cell lines were negative, but mast cell line L138.8A produced a high level of P1A message and was lysed by CTL directed against antigens P815A and B. We conclude that major tumor rejection antigens of P815 are encoded by a gene showing little or no expression in most normal cells of adult mice.

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