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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR, Volume 37, Issue 1, November 2018, Page 278.

The published version is available at Copyright © D'Aguanno et al.


BACKGROUND: Melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, is characterized by high rates of metastasis, drug resistance and mortality. Here we investigated the role of Semaphorin 5A (Sema5A) on the properties associated with melanoma progression and the factors involved in Sema5A regulation.

METHODS: Western blotting, qRT-PCR, Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay, immunohistochemistry of melanoma patient specimens and xenograft tissues, in vitro Transwell assay for cell migration and invasion evaluation, in vitro capillary-like structure formation analysis.

RESULTS: A significant correlation of Sema5A mRNA expression and melanoma progression was observed by analyzing GEO profile dataset. Endogenous Sema5A protein was detected in 95% of human melanoma cell lines tested, in 70% of metastatic specimens from patients affected by melanoma, and 16% of in situ melanoma specimens showed a focal positivity. We demonstrated that Sema5A regulates in vitro cell migration and invasion and the formation of vasculogenic structures. We also found an increase of Sema5A at both mRNA and protein level after forced expression of Bcl-2. By use of transcriptional and proteasome inhibitors, we showed that Bcl-2 increases the stability of Sema5A mRNA and protein. Moreover, by ChIP we demonstrated that Sema5A expression is under the control of the transcription factor c-Myb and that c-Myb recruitment on Sema5A promoter is increased after Bcl-2 overexpression. Finally, a concomitant decrease in the expression of Sema5A, Bcl-2 and c-Myb proteins was observed in melanoma cells after miR-204 overexpression.

CONCLUSION: Overall our data provide evidences supporting the role of Sema5A in melanoma progression and the involvement of Bcl-2, miR-204 and c-Myb in regulating its expression.

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