Mediation of NGF-stimulated extracellular matrix invasion by the human melanoma low-affinity p75 neurotrophin receptor: Melanoma p75 functions independently of trkA

John L. Herrmann, David G. Menter, Jun Ichi Hamada, Dario Marchetti, Motowo Nakajima, Garth L. Nicolson

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117 Scopus citations


Although overexpression of the low-affinity p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) is frequently associated with advanced stages of human melanoma progression, the functional significance of this finding is unknown. We examined whether the degree of cell surface expression of p75NTR in human melanoma cell variants determines their extent of invasion stimulated by nerve growth factor (NGF). Treatment of MeWo melanoma cells or a metastatic spontaneous wheat germ agglutinin-resistant variant subline (70W) of MeWo cells with 2.5S NGF resulted in a dose-dependent enhancement of invasion through a reconstituted basement membrane. This effect was most pronounced with the 70W subline that exhibits brain-metastasizing potential in nude mice but was not found with a poorly metastatic MeWo variant subline (3S5). The expression of p75NTR as determined by Northern blotting and immunoprecipitation analysis of 125I-labeled cell surface proteins correlated with NGF-stimulated invasion. The MeWo melanoma sublines used in this study did not express p140proto-trkA mRNA or any p140proto-trkA variant transcripts including p70trkA as determined by Northern analysis and RT-PCR analysis. Thus, these melanoma cells would not be expected to form functional p75-p140 heterodimers or p140-p140 homodimers capable of transducing an NGF-generated signal to p140proto-trkA cytoplasmic substrates. These cells did express authentic p145trkC transcripts. However, NGF did not catalytically activate p145trkC receptors via increased tyrosine phosphorylation as would be expected if p145trkC participated in the signaling established by NGF. Furthermore, a NGF-stimulated purine-analogue-sensitive kinase activity was found to coimmunoprecipitate with p75NTR. This p75NTR-associated kinase may coordinate initial signaling events evoked by p75NTR ligand interaction. Addition of 2.5S NGF, at concentrations that should saturate cell surface p75NTR, to matrix-adherent cultures of human MeWo and 70W but not 3S5 melanoma cells suppressed the expression of 92-kDa type IV collagenase and stimulated the production of 72-kDa type IV collagenase in its fully active 68-kDa form. In the absence of p140proto-trkA, the matrix-dependent effects of NGF on metalloproteinase expression of brain-metastatic 70W melanoma cells suggest a signaling role for the low-affinity melanoma p75NTR receptor and its associated purine-analogue-sensitive kinase in signaling enhanced matrix penetration of NGF-rich stromal microenvironments such as the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1216
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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