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Keywords:

  • extravasation;
  • melanoma;
  • miR-214;
  • TFAP2C;
  • tumour progression

Malignant melanoma is fatal in its metastatic stage. It is therefore essential to unravel the molecular mechanisms that govern disease progression to metastasis. MicroRNAs (miRs) are endogenous non-coding RNAs involved in tumourigenesis. Using a melanoma progression model, we identified a novel pathway controlled by miR-214 that coordinates metastatic capability. Pathway components include TFAP2C, homologue of a well-established melanoma tumour suppressor, the adhesion receptor ITGA3 and multiple surface molecules. Modulation of miR-214 influences in vitro tumour cell movement and survival to anoikis as well as extravasation from blood vessels and lung metastasis formation in vivo. Considering that miR-214 is known to be highly expressed in human melanomas, our data suggest a critical role for this miRNA in disease progression and the establishment of distant metastases.