• Malachite Green (MG);
  • Transformation;
  • Extracellular regulated kinases;
  • JUN-N-terminal kinases;
  • p38 Kinase;
  • Cell cycle


Malachite Green (MG), consisting of green crystals with a metallic lustre, is highly soluble in water, cytotoxic to various mammalian cells and also acts as a liver tumour promoter. In view of its industrial importance and possible exposure to human beings, MG poses a potential environmental health hazard. We have earlier reported the malignant transformation of Syrian hamster embryo (SHE) cells in primary culture by MG. In this study, we have studied the mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase signal transduction pathway in preneoplastic cells induced by MG. Western blots of MG induced preneoplastic cells showed no phosphorylation of ERK1, an increased phosphoactive ERK2 associated with a decreased expression of phosphoactive JNK2. However, total forms of ERKs, JNKs and p38 Kinases showed similar levels of expression in control and preneoplastic SHE cells. Indirect immunofluorescence studies have shown a distinct nuclear localisation of phosphoactive ERKs in MG induced preneoplastic cells. Flow cytometric analysis showed an increase of S-phase cells in preneoplastic cells compared to control SHE cells. The present study indicates that hyperphosphorylation of ERK2, decreased JNK2 phosphorylation and an increase in S-phase cells seems to be the early changes associated with the MG induced malignant transformation of SHE cells in primary culture.