Function of CSPG4 in Melanoma
The Tumor Biology Program at the University of Minnesota has now identified potential new targets for treating malignant melanoma; human melanoma proteoglycan CSPG4. Normal melanocytes express little or no CSPG4, whereas increased levels of CSPG4 are detected in dysplastic nevi and melanoma skin lesions. CSPG4 functions in multiple ways to contribute to cancer cell survival and invasiveness; by increased adhesion (α4β1 integrin-mediated stimulation of focal adhesion kinase), motility (by modulating the activity of rho family GTPases), invasion, and growth. The cytoplasmic domain of CSPG4 has several key functional binding domains and phosphoaaceptor sites for Erk and PDZ. Thus CSPG4 functions to enhance signal transduction efficiency and provide tumor cells with a competitive advantage in remodeling tumor microenvironments in which adhesion, growth, and survival factors are rate-limiting. Further characterization of CSPG4 function is needed and can be accomplished by gene microarray analysis of CSPG4 containing or CSPG4 mutated cells.