Cancer research

Identification of the human PHLDA1/TDAG51 gene: down-regulation in metastatic melanoma contributes to apoptosis resistance and growth deregulation.

PMID 12384558


To identify molecules involved in the progression of human melanoma to metastatic disease, autologous primary and metastatic melanoma cells were compared by differential mRNA display. One cDNA, expressed in primary but not in autologous metastatic cells in three different patients, was cloned and characterized, and shown to be the human homologue of the inducible, immediate early TDAG51/PHLDA1 (pleckstrin-homology-like domain family A, member1) gene. Monoclonal antibodies produced against the PHLDA1 protein revealed homogeneous strong expression by benign melanocytic nevi, and progressively reduced expression in primary and metastatic melanomas in vivo. Analysis of stable cDNA transfectants in two different cell lines revealed that constitutive PHLDA1 expression is associated with reduced cell growth, cloning efficiency, and colony formation but not with alterations in cell cycle parameters. However, PHLDA1 expression was associated with increased basal apoptosis as assessed by live cell annexin V binding, terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-dependent nucleotide incorporation, and with increased cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase and caspase-9. Constitutive PHLDA1 expression greatly enhances the sensitivity of human melanoma cells to the chemotherapeutic agents doxorubicin and camptothecin. These results suggest that PHLDA1 is constitutively expressed by melanocytic nevi where it may contribute to their benign phenotype. The progressive loss of PHLDA1 expression in melanomas may play a role in deregulated cell growth and apoptosis resistance in these tumors.