John H. Leonard

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BACKGROUND Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is present in approximately 80% of human Merkel cell carcinomas (MCCs). A previous in silico prediction suggested MCPyV encodes a microRNA (miRNA) that may regulate cellular and viral genes. OBJECTIVES To determine the presence and prevalence of a putative MCPyV-encoded miRNA in human MCC tumors. STUDY DESIGN(More)
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive neuroendocrine skin cancer with poorly characterized genetics. We performed high resolution comparative genomic hybridization on 25 MCC specimens using a high-density oligonucleotide microarray. Tumors frequently carried extra copies of chromosomes 1, 3q, 5p, and 6 and lost chromosomes 3p, 4, 5q, 7, 10, and 13.(More)
The human melanocortin-1 receptor gene (MC1R) encodes a G-protein coupled receptor that is primarily expressed on melanocytes, where it plays a key role in pigmentation regulation. Variant alleles are associated with red hair colour and fair skin, known as the RHC phenotype, as well as skin cancer risk. The R151C, R160W and D294H alleles, designated 'R',(More)
Upregulation of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) expression has been proposed to mediate melanogenesis stimulated by cAMP, whereas downregulation of MITF has been suggested to underlie the depigmentary effects of resveratrol, a promising chemotherapeutic found in red wine. We have assessed the contribution of MITF to pigmentation(More)
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the SLC45A2/MATP, SLC24A5/NCKX5, and OCA2/P genes have been associated with natural variation of pigmentation traits in human populations. Here, we describe the characterization of human primary melanocytic cells genotyped for polymorphisms within the MATP, NCKX5, or OCA2 loci. On the basis of genotype, these(More)
The use of adherent monolayer cultures have produced many insights into melanoma cell growth and differentiation, but often novel therapeutics demonstrated to act on these cells are not active in vivo. It is imperative that new methods of growing melanoma cells that reflect growth in vivo are investigated. To this end, a range of human melanoma cell lines(More)
PURPOSE Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a polyomavirus-associated skin cancer that is frequently lethal and lacks established prognostic biomarkers. This study sought to identify biomarkers that improve prognostic accuracy and provide insight into MCC biology. PATIENTS AND METHODS Gene expression profiles of 35 MCC tumors were clustered based on prognosis.(More)
Merkel cell carcinoma or small cell carcinoma of the skin is a rare skin cancer seen in increasing numbers in Queensland, Australia. In its clinical course and histopathology, it resembles small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). Little is known of the genetic basis of this disease except for a number of cytogenetic studies and three loss of heterozygosity(More)
The BRN2 transcription factor (POU3F2, N-Oct-3) has been implicated in development of the melanocytic lineage and in melanoma. Using a low calcium medium supplemented with stem cell factor, fibroblast growth factor-2, endothelin-3 and cholera toxin, we have established and partially characterised human melanocyte precursor cells, which are unpigmented,(More)