• melanoma;
  • Epac;
  • heparan sulfate;
  • migration;
  • NDST-1;
  • tissue microarray;
  • N-sulfation


Our previous report suggested the potential role of the exchange protein directly activated by cyclic AMP (Epac) in melanoma metastasis via heparan sulfate (HS)-mediated cell migration. In order to obtain conclusive evidence that Epac1 plays a critical role in modification of HS and melanoma metastasis, we extensively investigated expression and function of Epac1 in human melanoma samples and cell lines. We have found that, in human melanoma tissue microarray, protein expression of Epac1 was higher in metastatic melanoma than in primary melanoma. In addition, expression of Epac1 positively correlated with that of N-sulfated HS, and N-deacetylase/N-sulfotransferase-1 (NDST-1), an enzyme that increases N-sulfation of HS. Further, an Epac agonist increased, but ablation of Epac1 decreased, expressions of NDST-1, N-sulfated HS, and cell migration in various melanoma cell lines. Finally, C8161 cells with stable knockdown of Epac1 showed a decrease in cell migration, and metastasis in mice. These data suggest that Epac1 plays a critical role in melanoma metastasis presumably because of modification of HS.