Associated Project 5

1. Applicant

2. Topic

The role of cell re-programming in pathogenesis of melanoma

3. Short summary

Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) are similar to tumor cells in many aspects. ES cells are immortal and proliferate rapidly. They also form tumors (teratomas) when transplanted into immune-deficient mice.
Cells can be converted through transient ectopic expression of transcription factors such as Oct4 and Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc into ES-like cells which are named induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). iPS cells have all the features of ES cells including immortal growth and the potential of forming tumors (teratomas). The reprogramming efficiencies of iPS cells can be increased dramatically by downregulating p53 and p16/p19 further underscoring similarities of iPS cells and tumor cells such as melanoma cells.
The mechanism involved in the generation of immortal tumor-forming cells from melanocytes by the ectopic expression of the reprogramming factors is not clearly understood. We are using different molecular and cellular biology methods to study this mechanism. These results might give further insights in the pathogenesis and development of tumors like malignant melanoma and might be of therapeutic relevance.

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