Melanoma development and pigment cell transformation in Xiphophorus

Claudia Wellbrock, Ana Gómez, Manfred Schartl

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    As early as 1927, it was recognised that hybridisation of platyfish (Xiphophorus maculatus) and swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri) results in offspring that develop tumours according to Mendelian laws. Most obviously, the primary event, namely the cell lineage-specific over-expression of a structurally altered receptor tyrosine kinase, finds its parallel in many tumours of birds and mammals. Once expressed at high levels, this receptor, the Xiphophorus melanoma inducing receptor kinase Xmrk, shows constitutive activation. By using different pathways, Xmrk induces both proliferative as well as anti-apoptotic signalling in pigment cells finally leading to cell transformation, tumour induction, and progression. Analyses of the different signalling cascades induced by the Xmrk-receptor led to the identification of the src-kinase Fyn, the MAP kinases ERK1 and ERK2, the "Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription" STAT5, and the PI3-kinase as its major downstream substrates. This review describes some of the genetic findings, as well as the results from the recent molecular analyses of the factors involved in the initiation and manifestation of pigment cell transformation and melanoma development in Xiphophorus. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)456-463
    Number of pages7
    JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2002


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