Detection of an immunogenic HERV-E envelope with selective expression in clear cell kidney cancer

Elena Cherkasova, Claire Scrivani, Susan Doh, Quinn Weisman, Yoshiyuki Takahashi, Nanae Harashima, Hisayuki Yokoyama, Ramaprasad Srinivasan, W. Marston Linehan, Michael I. Lerman, Richard W. Childs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


VHL-deficient clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCC), the most common form of kidney cancer, express transcripts derived from the novelhumanendogenous retrovirus HERV-E (named CT-RCC HERV-E). In this study, we define a transcript encoding the entire envelope gene of HERV-E as expressed selectively in ccRCC tumors, as distinct from normal kidney tissues or other tumor types. Sequence analysis of this envelope transcript revealed long open reading frames encoding putative surface and transmembrane envelope proteins. Retroviral envelopes are known to be capable of eliciting immunity in humans. Accordingly, we found that HLA-A∗0201-restricted peptides predicted to be products of the CT-RCC HERV-E envelope transcript-stimulated CD8+ T cells, which could recognize HLA-A∗0201-positive HERV-E- expressing kidney tumor cells. Overall, our results offer evidence of unique HERV-E envelope peptides presented on the surface of ccRCC cells, offering potentially useful tumor-restricted targets for T-cell-based immunotherapy of kidney cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2177-2185
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 15


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