PubMed 21896768

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kir6.2

Title: Expression of the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) induces melanoma in transgenic mice.

Authors: Kyu Yeong Choi, Kai Chang, James M Pickel, John D Badger, Katherine W Roche

Journal, date & volume: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2011 Sep 13 , 108, 15219-24

PubMed link:

Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian CNS and mediates fast synaptic transmission upon activation of glutamate-gated ion channels. In addition, glutamate modulates a variety of other synaptic responses and intracellular signaling by activating metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), which are G protein-coupled receptors. The mGluRs are also expressed in nonneuronal tissues and are implicated in a variety of normal biological functions as well as diseases. To study mGluR-activated calcium signaling in neurons, we generated mGluR5 transgenic animals using a Thy1 promoter to drive expression in the forebrain, and one founder unexpectedly developed melanoma. To directly investigate the role of mGluR5 in melanoma formation, we generated mGluR5 transgenic lines under a melanocyte-specific promoter, tyrosinase-related protein 1. A majority of the founders showed a severe phenotype with early onset. Hyperpigmentation of the pinnae and tail could be detected as early as 3-5 d after birth for most of the mGluR5 transgene-positive mice. There was 100% penetrance in the progeny from the tyrosinase-related protein 1-mGluR5 lines generated from founders that developed melanoma. Expression of mGluR5 was detected in melanoma samples by RT-PCR, immunoblotting, and immunohistochemistry. We evaluated the expression of several cancer-related proteins in tumor samples and observed a dramatic increase in the phosphorylation of ERK, implicating ERK as a downstream effector of mGluR5 signaling in tumors. Our findings show that mGluR5-mediated glutamatergic signaling can trigger melanoma in vivo. The aggressive growth and severe phenotype make these mouse lines unique and a potentially powerful tool for therapeutic studies.