Protein that helps melanoma become more aggressive uncovered

January 18, 2023


(1/18/2023) Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body. While metastasis has been extensively studied, the mechanisms by which it occurs are not fully understood. Now, research led by Queen Mary University of London, King’s College London, and the Francis Crick Institute has identified a protein that makes melanoma more aggressive by giving cancer cells the ability to change the shape of their nucleus.

The study, “LAP1 supports nuclear adaptability during constrained melanoma cell migration and invasion,” is published in Nature Cell Biology. The study found that aggressive melanoma cells harbored high levels of a protein called LAP1 and that increased levels of this protein were linked to poor prognosis in melanoma patients.

 The study was co-led by Victoria Sanz-Moreno, PhD, professor, cancer cell biology at Queen Mary’s Barts Cancer Institute and Jeremy Carlton, PhD, reader in molecular and cellular biology at King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute.

In the study, the team challenged aggressive and less-aggressive melanoma cells in laboratory experiments to migrate through pores in an artificial membrane that were smaller than the size of their nucleus. The aggressive cells were from a site of metastasis in a patient with melanoma, and the less-aggressive cells were from the original or “primary” melanoma tumor of the same patient.  READ MORE