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MITF reprograms the extracellular matrix and focal adhesion in melanoma


Abstract

The microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is a critical regulator of melanocyte development and differentiation. It also plays an important role in melanoma where it has been described as a molecular rheostat that, depending on activity levels, allows reversible switching between different cellular states. Here, we show that MITF directly represses the expression of genes associated with the extracellular matrix (ECM) and focal adhesion pathways in human melanoma cells as well as of regulators of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) such as CDH2, thus affecting cell morphology and cell-matrix interactions. Importantly, we show that these effects of MITF are reversible, as expected from the rheostat model. The number of focal adhesion points increased upon MITF knockdown, a feature observed in drug-resistant melanomas. Cells lacking MITF are similar to the cells of minimal residual disease observed in both human and zebrafish melanomas. Our results suggest that MITF plays a critical role as a repressor of gene expression and is actively involved in shaping the microenvironment of melanoma cells in a cell-autonomous manner.

Abstract

The microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is a critical regulator of melanocyte development and differentiation. It also plays an important role in melanoma where it has been described as a molecular rheostat that, depending on activity levels, allows reversible switching between different cellular states. Here, we show that MITF directly represses the expression of genes associated with the extracellular matrix (ECM) and focal adhesion pathways in human melanoma cells as well as of regulators of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) such as CDH2, thus affecting cell morphology and cell-matrix interactions. Importantly, we show that these effects of MITF are reversible, as expected from the rheostat model. The number of focal adhesion points increased upon MITF knockdown, a feature observed in drug-resistant melanomas. Cells lacking MITF are similar to the cells of minimal residual disease observed in both human and zebrafish melanomas. Our results suggest that MITF plays a critical role as a repressor of gene expression and is actively involved in shaping the microenvironment of melanoma cells in a cell-autonomous manner.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Immunology and Microbiology, General Neuroscience, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:13 January 2021
Deposited On:08 Feb 2021 17:07
Last Modified:10 Feb 2021 07:04
Publisher:eLife Sciences Publications Ltd.
ISSN:2050-084X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.63093
PubMed ID:33438577

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