Metastatic melanoma is a highly aggressive skin cancer whose incidence is on the rise at an alarming rate. Research has revealed that metastatic tumor cells share similar signaling pathways with embryonic stem cells to sustain plasticity and growth. However, major regulators of these pathways are often missing in tumor cells, thus allowing uncontrolled tumor growth and spreading to occur.
During early vertebrate development, Nodal, an embryonic growth factor that governs the growth, pattern and position of tissues, is critical for normal maturation. Nodal plays a significant role in maintaining the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells, meaning the ability of stem cells to differentiate into any of the three germ layers that comprise the body.
The recent discovery of Nodal's re-expression in several aggressive and metastatic cancers has highlighted its critical role in self-renewal and maintenance of the stem cell-like characteristics of tumor cells such as melanoma. However, the signaling pathway receptors utilized by melanoma cells to propagate Nodal's effect remain(s) mostly anecdotal and unexplored.
The laboratory of Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD made the novel discovery that embryonic stem cells and metastatic melanoma cells share a similar repertoire of receptors known as Type I serine/threonine kinase(s), but diverge in their Type II receptor expression.
Further testing indicated that metastatic melanoma cells and embryonic stem cells use different receptors for Nodal signal transduction. These findings reveal the divergence in Nodal signaling between embryonic stem cells and metastatic melanoma that can impact new therapeutic strategies targeting the re-emergence of embryonic pathways in cancer.
This work is published in the International Journal of Cancer. Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD points out: "Nodal-expressing tumor cells don't respond favorably to conventional therapies, supporting the premise that a combinatorial approach to targeting Nodal subpopulations within tumors, along with a front-line therapy, would constitute a more rational approach for treating aggressive cancer".
Zhila Khalkhali-Ellis, PhD, senior research scientist in the Hendrix laboratory and the lead author says: "Our discoveries are important for advanced stage aggressive melanoma. Given that limited therapeutic options are currently available for this cancer, we have the opportunity to investigate whether the receptors can be modulated so that the signaling molecule can be neutralized to decrease aggressive behavior." The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Zhila Khalkhali-Ellis, PhD is Research Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; and a member of the Cancer Biology and Epigenomics Program of Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute, affiliated with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
Mary J.C. Hendrix, PhD is President & Scientific Director of Manne Research Institute; Children's Research Fund Professor; William G. Swartchild, Jr. Distinguished Research Professor at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
The research team includes members of the Department of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio, Texas.
Full citation: Khalkhali-Ellis Z, Kirschmann DA, Seftor EA, Gilgur A, Bodenstine TM, Hinck AP, Hendrix MJC. Divergence(s) in Nodal Signaling Between Aggressive Melanoma and Embryonic Stem Cells. International Journal of Cancer. Available online September 9, 2014.
Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute is the research arm of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, the pediatric teaching hospital for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The research institute is also one of the interdisciplinary research centers and institutes of the Feinberg School, where principal investigators who are part of the research institute are full-time faculty members.
225 E. Chicago Ave., Box 205
Chicago, IL 60611
Affiliated with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Peggy Murphy | Eurek Alert!
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences