New, tacky oncogenes

Nr-CAM, a neuronal cell adhesion molecule, plays a role in melanoma and colon cancer.

Tudor Toma

β- and γ-catenin both mediate cell-to-cell adhesion with β-catenin also being involved in a signal transduction cascade that promotes cell proliferation, but their role in tumorigenesis has been unclear. In August 15 Genes & Development, Maralice Conacci-Sorrell and colleagues at The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, show that both β- and γ-catenin induce transcription of Nr-CAM (a neuronal cell adhesion molecule) and play a role in melanoma and colon cancer tumorigenesis, probably by promoting cell growth and motility (Genes Dev 2002, 16:2058-2072).

Conacci-Sorrell et al. used DNA microarray to analyze human carcinoma cell lines and observed that expression of Nr-CAM was dramatically increased by β- and γ-catenin. Nr-CAM expression in mouse fibroblast cells caused rapid proliferation in cell culture and when injected into nude mice, produced rapidly developing tumors. In addition they showed that Nr-CAM is highly expressed in murine and human melanoma cells and...

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