Differentiation of human melanoma cells through p38 MAP kinase is associated with decreased retinoblastoma protein phosphorylation and cell cycle arrest
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The retinoblastoma protein (pRB), the product of the retinoblastoma gene, is a key regulator of the cell cycle, affecting apoptosis, proliferation and differentiation. Dysregulation of pRB is implicated in the pathogenesis of many cancers, including malignant melanoma. Recently we demonstrated that alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH)-induced activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase leads to differentiation of B16 murine melanoma cells. The current study assesses the ability of alpha-MSH to activate p38 MAP kinase in COLO 853 human melanoma cells and determines whether this is linked to modulation of pRB activity. Treatment of COLO 853 cells with alpha-MSH induced time- and concentration-dependent increases in the phosphorylation of p38 MAP kinase, which corresponded with its ability to induce melanogenesis and inhibit cell growth. SB 203580, a selective inhibitor of p38 MAP kinase, blocked both the alpha-MSH-induced melanogenic response and inhibition of cell growth. Cell cycle analysis using flow cytometry revealed that treatment of COLO 853 cells with alpha-MSH for 72 h led to an increase in the proportion of cells in the G(1) phase and a marked reduction in the amount of phosphorylated pRB. Both of these effects were reversed by pre-treatment of cells with SB 203580. In summary, we have demonstrated for the first time that the alpha-MSH-induced differentiation of COLO 853 human melanoma cells proceeds via a p38 MAP kinase-mediated pathway and is associated with decreased pRB phosphorylation and accumulation of cells in the G(1) phase. (C) 2002 Lippincott Williams Wilkins.
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MELANOMA RESEARCH, 2002, 12 pp. 187 - 192
LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS