Research Papers:

Ubiquitin ligase UBE3C promotes melanoma progression by increasing epithelial-mesenchymal transition in melanoma cells

Li Tang _, Xue-Mei Yi, Jia Chen, Fu-Juan Chen, Wei Lou, Yun-Lu Gao, Jing Zhou, Li-Na Su, Xin Xu, Jia-Qing Lu, Jun Ma, Ning Yu and Yang-Feng Ding

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:15738-15746. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7393

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Li Tang1, Xue-Mei Yi1, Jia Chen2, Fu-Juan Chen1, Wei Lou1, Yun-Lu Gao1, Jing Zhou1, Li-Na Su1, Xin Xu1, Jia-Qing Lu1, Jun Ma1, Ning Yu1, Yang-Feng Ding1

1Department of Dermatology, Shanghai Skin Disease Hospital, Shanghai, P. R. China

2Department of Pathology, Shanghai Skin Disease Hospital, Shanghai, P. R. China

Correspondence to:

Yang-Feng, Ding, e-mail: dingyangfeng@hotmail.com

Keywords: melanoma, invasion and metastasis, ubiquitin ligase, UBE3C

Received: July 24, 2015    Accepted: January 13, 2016    Published: February 15, 2016


Melanoma is the most aggressive type of skin cancer, exhibiting extensive local invasion and early distant metastasis. Aberrant expression of ubiquitin-protein ligase E3C (UBE3C) plays a key role in tumor development and progression. In the present study, we analyzed UBE3C expression in samples of cancerous and normal skin tissue. Levels of UBE3C expression were much higher in primary and metastatic melanoma tissues than in normal skin, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma. Melanoma cells overexpressing UBE3C frequently exhibited a mesenchymal phenotype, including reduced expression of the epithelial marker E-cadherin and expression of the mesenchymal marker vimentin. Knockdown of UBE3C expression in melanoma cells significantly suppressed melanoma growth and progression. Furthermore, silencing UBE3C led to increased E-cadherin expression and decreased vimentin and Snail1 expression. Thus UBE3C promotes melanoma progression, possibly by inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition in melanoma cells. Inhibiting UBE3C activity may suppress melanoma invasion and metastasis and may represent a targeted therapeutic approach.

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