MARCKS functions as a novel growth/tumour suppressor in cells of melanocyte origin
Brooks, G., Brooks, S.F. and Goss, M.W. (1996) MARCKS functions as a novel growth/tumour suppressor in cells of melanocyte origin. Carcinogenesis, 17 (4). pp. 683-689. ISSN 0143-3334
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/carcin/17.4.683
Protein kinase C (PKC) plays a pivotal role in modulating the growth of melanocytic cells in culture. We have shown previously that a major physiological substrate of PKC, the 80 kDa myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate (MARCKS), can be phosphorylated in quiescent, non-tumorigenic melanocytes exposed transiently to a biologically active phorbol ester, but cannot be phosphorylated in phorbol ester-treated, syngeneic malignant melanoma cells. Despite its ubiquitous distribution, the function of MARCKS in cell growth and transformation remains to be demonstrated clearly. We report here that MARCKS mRNA and protein levels are down-regulated significantly in the spontaneously derived murine B16 melanoma cell line compared with syngeneic normal Mel-ab melanocytes. In contrast, the tumourigenic v-Ha-ras-transfonned melan-ocytic line, LTR Ras 2, showed a high basal level of MARCKS phosphorylation which was not enhanced by treatment of cells with phorbol ester. Furthermore, protein levels of MARCKS in LTR Ras 2 cells were similar to those expressed in Mel-ab melanocytes. However, in four out of six murine tumour cell lines investigated, levels of MARCKS protein were barely detectable. Transfection of B16 cells with a plasmid containing the MARCKS cDNA in the sense orientation produced two neomycin-resistant clones displaying reduced proliferative capacity and decreased anchorage-independent growth compared with control cells. In contrast, transfection with the antisense MARCKS construct produced many colonies which displayed enhanced growth and transforming potential compared with control cells. Thus, MARCKS appears to act as a novel growth suppressor in the spontaneous transformation of cells of melanocyte origin and may play a more general role in the tumour progression of other carcinomas.