Protein Kinase C and Melanocyte Transformation


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2 Scopus citations


Melanoma cells which have been isolated from metastatic melanoma tissue are able to survive and proliferate in serum supplemented media. In contrast, normal human melanocytes require the presence of growth stimulators if they are to survive in culture. A tumor promotor, 12–0‐tetradecanoyl‐phorbol‐13‐acetate (TPA) and substances that increase intracellular levels of cyclic‐adenosine‐monophosphate (cAMP), such as cholera toxin or isobutylmethyl xanthine, have been widely used for this purpose. The phorbol diester receptor was shown in 1982 to be the phospholipid‐ and calcium‐dependent enzyme protein kinase C (PKC). We therefore directed our studies to the role of PKC regulation in the growth of normal human melanocytes and their transformation. Our studies show that while melanoma cells are inhibited by TPA, the growth of normal melanocytes is stimulated in a dose‐dependent manner. The inhibitor, 1‐(5‐isoquinolinesulfonyl)‐2‐methyl‐piperizine dihydrochloride (H7), which has been found to be the most specific for PKC, had no effect on the growth of normal melanocytes, but inhibited the growth of melanoma cells in a dose‐dependent manner. PKC was isolated from the membrane and cytosol of normal melanocytes and melanoma cells. The basal (resting) levels of PKC activity in normal melanocytes was low compared to that measured in melanoma cells, and after short‐term (1 hour) treatment with TPA the PKC activity was greatest at the membrane, with the activity decreasing the cytosol. Upon prolonged (48 hours) treatment with TPA, this redistribution of activity continued in normal melanocytes and the total activity increased. In melanoma cells, however, the total PKC activity decreased, particularly in the membrane fraction. A difference in activity and distribution of the enzyme was also seen after short‐term (1 hour) treatment with H7. There was very little effect seen on PKC in normal melanocytes; however, the effect on melanoma cells was similar to that seen after 48 hours of exposure to TPA with a decrease in total activity, particularly in the membrane fraction. These results indicate that the regulation of PKC, in particular its activation by TPA, is altered during the transformation of normal human melanocytes

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalPigment Cell Research
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Melanoma and 12–0‐tetradecanoyl phorbol‐13‐acetate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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