H-Cadherin expression reduces invasion of malignant melanoma


Dr. Silke Kuphal, e-mail: Silke.Kuphal@klinik.uni-regensburg.de


Melanocytic behavior, survival, and proliferation are regulated through a complex system of cell–cell adhesion molecules. Pathologic changes leading to development of malignant melanoma, upset the delicate homeostatic balance between melanocytes and keratinocytes and can lead to altered expression of cell–cell adhesion and cell–cell communication molecules. Malignant transformation of melanocytes frequently coincides with loss of E-cadherin expression. We now show loss of another member of the superfamily of classical cadherins, H-cadherin (CDH13), which may be involved in the development of malignant melanoma. The provided data show that H-cadherin expression is lost in nearly 80% of the analyzed melanoma cell lines. Knockdown of H-cadherin using siRNA increases invasive capacity in melanocytes. Functional assays show that the re-expression of H-cadherin decreases migration and invasion capacity, as well as anchorage-independent growth in comparison to control melanoma cells. Furthermore, melanoma cells, which re-express H-cadherin via stable transfection show a reduction in rate of tumor growth in a nu/nu mouse tumor model in comparison to the parental control transfected cell lines. Our study presents for the first time the down-regulation of H-cadherin in malignant melanomas and its possible functional relevance in maintenance healthy skin architecture.