Most chemically induced tumors of mice express unique antigens that can be recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and thereby mediate tumor rejection. The number of different antigens expressed by a single tumor and their interplay during immunization and rejection are largely unexplored. We used CTL clones specific to individual tumor antigens to examine the number and distribution of CTL antigens expressed by cell lines derived from 3-methylcholanthrene-induced sarcomas of (C57BL/6J X SPRET/Ei)F1 mice. Each tumor cell line expressed one or more antigens that were unique, that is, not detected on cell lines from independent sarcomas. Immunoselection against an immunodominant antigen produced both major histocompatibility complex class I antigen and unique tumor antigen loss variants. Immunization of mice with antigen-negative immunoselected variants resulted in CTL that recognized additional antigens that were also expressed by the progenitor tumor. Some CTL recognized additional unique tumor antigen(s); other CTL recognized a shared antigen expressed not only by the immunizing cell line, but also by independent sarcoma cell lines and untransformed myoblastoid cell lines. CTL that recognized the shared antigen were also recovered from mice immunized in vivo with an untransformed myoblastoid cell line. These findings support a model of immunodominance among chemically induced tumor antigens in which shared antigens are masked by unique immunodominant antigens.

This content is only available as a PDF.