Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Biology

First Advisor's Name

Lidia Kos

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

James Grichnik

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

John Makemson

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

M. Alejandro Barbieri

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Richard Bone

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Keywords

Melanoma, Ultraviolet Radiation, Endothelin 3, XPA, XPC, Skin Cancer, Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Date of Defense

10-20-2014

Abstract

Melanoma is one of the most aggressive types of cancer. It originates from the transformation of melanocytes present in the epidermal/dermal junction of the human skin. It is commonly accepted that melanomagenesis is influenced by the interaction of environmental factors, genetic factors, as well as tumor-host interactions. DNA photoproducts induced by UV radiation are, in normal cells, repaired by the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. The prominent role of NER in cancer resistance is well exemplified by patients with Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP). This disease results from mutations in the components of the NER pathway, such as XPA and XPC proteins. In humans, NER pathway disruption leads to the development of skin cancers, including melanoma. Similar to humans afflicted with XP, Xpa and Xpc deficient mice show high sensibility to UV light, leading to skin cancer development, except melanoma. The Endothelin 3 (Edn3) signaling pathway is essential for proliferation, survival and migration of melanocyte precursor cells. Excessive production of Edn3 leads to the accumulation of large numbers of melanocytes in the mouse skin, where they are not normally found. In humans, Edn3 signaling pathway has also been implicated in melanoma progression and its metastatic potential. The goal of this study was the development of the first UV-induced melanoma mouse model dependent on the over-expression of Edn3 in the skin. The UV-induced melanoma mouse model reported here is distinguishable from all previous published models by two features: melanocytes are not transformed a priori and melanomagenesis arises only upon neonatal UV exposure. In this model, melanomagenesis depends on the presence of Edn3 in the skin. Disruption of the NER pathway due to the lack of Xpa or Xpc proteins was not essential for melanomagenesis; however, it enhanced melanoma penetrance and decreased melanoma latency after one single neonatal erythemal UV dose. Exposure to a second dose of UV at six weeks of age did not change time of appearance or penetrance of melanomas in this mouse model. Thus, a combination of neonatal UV exposure with excessive Edn3 in the tumor microenvironment is sufficient for melanomagenesis in mice; furthermore, NER deficiency exacerbates this process.

Identifier

FI14110725

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