Loss of pannexin 1 attenuates melanoma progression by reversion to a melanocytic phenotype

Silvia Penuela, Laszlo Gyeniss, Amber Ablack, Jared M. Churko, Amy C. Berger, David W. Litchfield, John D. Lewis, Dale W. Laird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Pannexin 1 (Panx1) is a channel-forming glycoprotein expressed in different cell types of mammalian skin. We examined the role of Panx1 in melanoma tumorigenesis and metastasis since qPCR and Western blots revealed that mouse melanocytes exhibited low levels of Panx1 while increased Panx1 expression was correlated with tumor cell aggressiveness in the isogenic melanoma cell lines (B16-F0, -F10, and -BL6). Panx1 shRNA knockdown (Panx1-KD) generated stable BL6 cell lines, with reduced dye uptake, that showed a marked increase in me-lanocyte- like cell characteristics including higher melanin production, decreased cell migration and enhanced formation of cellular projections. Western blotting and proteomic analyses using 2D-gel/mass spectroscopy identified vimentin and β-catenin as two of the markers of malignant melanoma that were down-regulated in Panx1-KD cells. Xenograft Panx1-KD cells grown within the chorioallantoic membrane of avian embryos developed tumors that were significantly smaller than controls. Mouse-Alu qPCR of the excised avian embryonic organs revealed that tumor metastasis to the liver was significantly reduced upon Panx1 knockdown. These data suggest that while Panx1 is present in skin melanocytes it is up-regulated during melanoma tumor progression, and tumorigenesis can be inhibited by the knockdown of Panx1 raising the possibility that Panx1 may be a viable target for the treatment of melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29184-29193
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 17 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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