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Larue L, Dougherty N, Porter S, Mintz B
Spontaneous Malignant Transformation of Melanocytes Explanted from W(F)/W(F) Mice with a Kit Kinase-Domain Mutation
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (1992) 89:7816-7820.
Abstract
The W/Kit mouse locus, affecting proliferation and survival of pigment cells, blood cells, and germ cells, is known to encode a tyrosine kinase growth factor receptor and is considered a protooncogene; yet it has not heretofore been causally implicated in any malignancies of those cells. The W(f)/W(f) mutant mouse coat comprises viable and inviable melanoblast clones, seen ultimately as pigmented and white transverse stripes-the latter more prominent. Judging from the pattern, all clones initially expand, and the inviable ones then undergo programmed cell death prenatally. To observe skin melanocytes of the viable clones during extended proliferation, the cells were explanted from individual young mice. An unusually large number of primary explants failed to survive-a result consistent with a growth handicap. In 3 of the 10 surviving cell lines, many cells spontaneously underwent a series of striking changes with the classic features of transformation. The two transformed lines that have been tested by grafting to immunosuppressed hosts formed undifferentiated invasive tumors compatible with malignant amelanotic melanoma. None of our 52 other melanocyte lines of the coisogenic wild-type strain and 13 other natural genotypes have become transformed under the same culture conditions. Molecular analysis of the W(f) gene revealed a single change from wild-type: a point mutation affecting the catalytic region in the kinase domain of the Kit protein. The apparent growth disadvantage due to the mutation may allow selection for melanocytes mobilizing more efficient pathways, thus leading to neoplasia. Production of both viable and inviable melanoblast clones is unlikely to be due only to the kinase mutation; possibly the degree, duration, and consistency of expression of this locus may be controlled by cis elements outside the coding region.
Note
Publication Date: 1992-08-15.
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