We have reported the identification of human gene MAGE-1, which directs the expression of an antigen recognized on a melanoma by autologous cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL). We show here that CTL directed against this antigen, which was named MZ2-E, recognize a nonapeptide encoded by the third exon of gene MAGE-1. The CTL also recognize this peptide when it is presented by mouse cells transfected with an HLA-A1 gene, confirming the association of antigen MZ2-E with the HLA-A1 molecule. Other members of the MAGE gene family do not code for the same peptide, suggesting that only MAGE-1 produces the antigen recognized by the anti-MZ2-E CTL. Our results open the possibility of immunizing HLA-A1 patients whose tumor expresses MAGE-1 either with the antigenic peptide or with autologous antigen-presenting cells pulsed with the peptide.

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