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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

CD44 is the principal mediator of hyaluronic-acid-induced melanoma cell proliferation.

Interactions of the extracellular matrix component hyaluronic acid and its cellular receptors CD44 and RHAMM/IHABP have been linked to tumor progression and metastasis formation. We investigated the expression and hyaluronic-acid-dependent functions of CD44 and RHAMM/IHABP in human melanoma. Immunohistochemistry of tumor specimens at different stages of melanoma progression revealed an increased expression of CD44 and RHAMM/IHABP. High mRNA expression of CD44 was found in three highly tumorigenic melanoma cell lines compared with less tumorigenic melanoma cells or nontransformed melanocytes. RHAMM/IHABP expression was upregulated in all cell lines analyzed but not in melanocytes. In contrast to the cell surface localization of CD44, RHAMM/IHABP was detected exclusively within the cytoplasm of melanoma cells. Binding and adhesion of melanoma cells to hyaluronic acid is mainly CD44 dependent as it was inhibited to 60%--80% by an anti-CD44 monoclonal antibody whereas anti-RHAMM/IHABP sera had no effect. Culture of melanoma cells in the presence of hyaluronic acid resulted in a dose-dependent, CD44- mediated increase of melanoma cell proliferation and enhanced release of basic fibroblast growth factor and transforming growth factor beta 1. We conclude that (i) the expression of CD44 and RHAMM/IHABP is increased during melanoma progression, (ii) CD44 is the principal hyaluronic acid surface receptor on melanoma cells, and (iii) the hyaluronic-acid-induced increase of the proliferative capacity of melanoma cells is mainly dependent on CD44--hyaluronic acid interactions.[1]


  1. CD44 is the principal mediator of hyaluronic-acid-induced melanoma cell proliferation. Ahrens, T., Assmann, V., Fieber, C., Termeer, C., Herrlich, P., Hofmann, M., Simon, J.C. J. Invest. Dermatol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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