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The molecular biology of metastatic potential in melanoma has been studied many times previously and changes in the expression of many genes have been linked to metastatic behaviour. What is lacking is a systematic characterization of the regulatory relationships between genes whose expression is related to metastatic potential. Such a characterization(More)
During the process of malignant transformation, nascent melanoma cells escape keratinocyte control through down-regulation of E-cadherin and instead communicate among themselves and with fibroblasts via N-cadherin-based cell-cell contacts. The zonula occludens (ZO) protein-1 is a membrane-associated component of both the tight and adherens junctions found(More)
Melanomas are highly heterogeneous tumors, but the biological significance of their different subpopulations is not clear. Using the H3K4 demethylase JARID1B (KDM5B/PLU-1/RBP2-H1) as a biomarker, we have characterized a small subpopulation of slow-cycling melanoma cells that cycle with doubling times of >4 weeks within the rapidly proliferating main(More)
Although >66% of melanomas harbor activating mutations in BRAF and exhibit constitutive activity in the mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling pathway, it is unclear how effective MEK inhibition will be as a sole therapeutic strategy for melanoma. We investigated(More)
Because of their undifferentiated nature, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are an ideal model system for studying both normal human development and the processes that underlie disease. In the current study, we describe an efficient method for differentiating hESCs into a melanocyte population within 4-6 weeks using three growth factors: Wnt3a,(More)
Targeted intervention of the B-Raf V600E gene product that is prominent in melanoma has been met with modest success. Here, we characterize the pharmacological properties of PLX4032, a next-generation inhibitor with exquisite specificity against the V600E oncogene and striking anti-melanoma activity. PLX4032 induces potent cell cycle arrest, inhibits(More)
Cellular signaling mediated by Notch receptors results in coordinated regulation of cell growth, survival, and differentiation. Aberrant Notch activation has been linked to a variety of human neoplasms. Here, we show that Notch1 signaling drives the vertical growth phase (VGP) of primary melanoma toward a more aggressive phenotype. Constitutive activation(More)
The importance of mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling in melanoma is underscored by the prevalence of activating mutations in N-Ras and B-Raf, yet clinical development of inhibitors of this pathway has been largely ineffective, suggesting that alternative oncogenes may also promote melanoma. Notch is an interesting candidate that has only been(More)
The claudins constitute a 24-member family of proteins that are critical for the function and formation of tight junctions. Here, we examine the expression of claudin-7 in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the esophagus and its possible role in tumor progression. In the normal esophagus, expression of claudin-7 was confined to the cell membrane of(More)
Mutations in the BRAF serine/threonine kinase gene are frequently found in cutaneous melanomas. Activation of hypoxia inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha) in response to both hypoxic stress and oncogenic signals has important implications in cancer development and progression. Here, we report that mutant BRAF(V600E) increases HIF-1alpha expression in(More)