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      Mitf-Mdel, a novel melanocyte/melanoma-specific isoform of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor-M, as a candidate biomarker for melanoma

        1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ,
      BMC Medicine
      BioMed Central

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          Melanoma incidence is on the rise and advanced melanoma carries an extremely poor prognosis. Treatment options, including chemotherapy and immunotherapy, are limited and offer low response rates and transient efficacy. Thus, identification of new melanocyte/melanoma antigens that serve as potential novel candidate biomarkers in melanoma is an important area for investigation.


          Full length MITF-M and its splice variant cDNA were cloned from human melanoma cell line 624 mel by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Expression was investigated using regular and quantitative RT-PCR in three normal melanocytes (NHEM), 31 melanoma cell lines, 21 frozen melanoma tissue samples, 18 blood samples (pheripheral blood mononuclear cell; PBMC) from healthy donors and 12 non-melanoma cancer cell lines, including three breast, five glioma, one sarcoma, two kidney and one ovarian cancer cell lines.


          A novel splice variant of MITF-M, which we named MITF-Mdel, was identified. The predicted MITF-Mdel protein contains two in frame deletions, 56- and 6- amino acid deletions in exon 2 (from V32 to E87) and exon 6 (from A187 to T192), respectively. MITF-Mdel was widely expressed in melanocytes, melanoma cell lines and tissues, but almost undetectable in non-melanoma cell lines or PBMC from healthy donors. Both isoforms were expressed significantly higher in melanoma tissues than in cell lines. Two of 31 melanoma cell lines expressed only one isoform or the other.


          MITF-Mdel, a novel melanocyte/melanoma-specific isoform of MITF-M, may serve as a potential candidate biomarker for diagnostic and follow-up purposes in melanoma.

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          Most cited references26

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          Integrative genomic analyses identify MITF as a lineage survival oncogene amplified in malignant melanoma.

          Systematic analyses of cancer genomes promise to unveil patterns of genetic alterations linked to the genesis and spread of human cancers. High-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays enable detailed and genome-wide identification of both loss-of-heterozygosity events and copy-number alterations in cancer. Here, by integrating SNP array-based genetic maps with gene expression signatures derived from NCI60 cell lines, we identified the melanocyte master regulator MITF (microphthalmia-associated transcription factor) as the target of a novel melanoma amplification. We found that MITF amplification was more prevalent in metastatic disease and correlated with decreased overall patient survival. BRAF mutation and p16 inactivation accompanied MITF amplification in melanoma cell lines. Ectopic MITF expression in conjunction with the BRAF(V600E) mutant transformed primary human melanocytes, and thus MITF can function as a melanoma oncogene. Reduction of MITF activity sensitizes melanoma cells to chemotherapeutic agents. Targeting MITF in combination with BRAF or cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors may offer a rational therapeutic avenue into melanoma, a highly chemotherapy-resistant neoplasm. Together, these data suggest that MITF represents a distinct class of 'lineage survival' or 'lineage addiction' oncogenes required for both tissue-specific cancer development and tumour progression.
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            Mutations at the mouse microphthalmia locus are associated with defects in a gene encoding a novel basic-helix-loop-helix-zipper protein.

            Mice with mutations at the microphthalmia (mi) locus have some or all of the following defects: loss of pigmentation, reduced eye size, failure of secondary bone resorption, reduced numbers of mast cells, and early onset of deafness. Using a transgenic insertional mutation at this locus, we have identified a gene whose expression is disrupted in transgenic animals. This gene encodes a novel member of the basic-helix-loop-helix-leucine zipper (bHLH-ZIP) protein family of transcription factors, is altered in mice carrying two independent mi alleles (mi and miws), and is expressed in the developing eye, ear, and skin, all anatomical sites affected by mi. The multiple spontaneous and induced mutations available at mi provide a unique biological resource for studying the role of a bHLH-ZIP protein in mammalian development.
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              Mitf from neural crest to melanoma: signal transduction and transcription in the melanocyte lineage.


                Author and article information

                BMC Med
                BMC Medicine
                BioMed Central
                17 February 2010
                : 8
                : 14
                [1 ]Research Laboratory of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Peking University School of Stomatology, Beijing, China
                [2 ]Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Hematology section, 333 Cedar Street, PO Box 208021, New Haven, CT, USA
                [3 ]Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA
                [4 ]Ochsner Cancer Institute, Department of Surgery 1514 Jefferson Highway, BH334 New Orleans, LA 70121, USA
                [5 ]Mitchell Cancer Institute, University of South Alabama, 1660 Springhill Avenue, Mobile, AL 36604, USA
                Copyright ©2010 Wang et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 17 December 2009
                : 17 February 2010
                Research article



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