CNIO researchers are trying to find features of melanoma that distinguish it form other types of tumors. Now, they have found that melanoma cells seem to be more dependent on a cytoplasmic polyadenylation binding protein. The findings suggested that this protein could be a therapeutic target for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
The research team, led by Marisol Soengas from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), is aiming to identify new biomarkers of melanoma progression. In the journal Nature Communications, they details the contribution of a specific protein to melanoma. The protein, called the cytoplasmic polyadenylation binding protein 4 (CPEB4), is involved in melanoma cell survival.
Previously, the team found that one feature of melanoma is that it can activate autophagy, a natural process that deals with destruction of cells. For this study, they identified that CPEB4 plays an important role in melanoma.
The CPEB family of proteins are known to regulate cell division, differentiation, migration and other important cellular activities. Earlier studies have shown the roles of CPEBs in some types of tumor. The expression of CPEB4 is upregulated in tumors like pancreatic carcinomas. However, the roles of CPEBs in melanoma remain to be answered.
In this study, the research team analyzed CPEB proteins in different kinds of tumors. They found a high expression of CPEB4 in melanoma cells. Moreover, inhibition of CEPB4 severely disrupted the proliferation of melanoma cells, suggesting that melanoma cells were dependent on this protein. Furthermore, the CEPB4 protein influences the expression of factors like MITF and RAB27A, which play key roles in melanoma.
The mechanism of melanoma is complex because of a high mutation burden. This study provides new insight into the mechanism of melanoma, which is the leading cause of death from skin cancer.
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