Melanoma chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (MCSP) is an early cell surface melanoma progression marker implicated in stimulating tumor cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) plays a pivotal role in integrating growth factor and adhesion-related signaling pathways, facilitating cell spreading and migration. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1 and 2, implicated in tumor growth and survival, has also been linked to clinical melanoma progression. We have cloned the MCSP core protein and expressed it in the MCSP-negative melanoma cell line WM1552C. Expression of MCSP enhances integrin-mediated cell spreading, FAK phosphorylation, and activation of ERK1/2. MCSP transfectants exhibit extensive MCSP-rich microspikes on adherent cells, where it also colocalizes with α4 integrin. Enhanced activation of FAK and ERK1/2 by MCSP appears to involve independent mechanisms because inhibition of FAK activation had no effect on ERK1/2 phosphorylation. These results indicate that MCSP may facilitate primary melanoma progression by enhancing the activation of key signaling pathways important for tumor invasion and growth.
- Cell spreading
- Melanoma chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan