Involvement of overexpressed wild-type BRAF in the growth of malignant melanoma cell lines

Oncogene. 2004 Nov 18;23(54):8796-804. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1208152.


Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) using 40 cell lines derived from malignant melanomas (MMs) revealed frequent amplification at 7q33-q34 containing BRAF gene, which often is mutated in MM. We found this gene to be amplified to a remarkable degree in the MM cell lines that exhibited high-level gains at 7q33-q34 in CGH. Among 40 cell lines, the eight lines that revealed neither BRAF nor NRAS mutations showed even higher levels of BRAF mRNA expression than the 32 mutated lines, although DNA amplification at 7q33-q34 was not detected in every lines overexpressing BRAF. MM cells that carried wild-type BRAF and NRAS showed constitutive overexpression of B-Raf protein and phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), even after serum starvation. Not only downregulation of the endogenously overexpressed wild-type B-Raf by antisense oligonucleotide but also a treatment with an inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MAPKK, MEK) reduced phosphorylated ERK1/2 and cell growth, whereas the exogenously expressed wild-type B-Raf promoted cell growth in MM cells. Our results provide the evidence that overexpression of wild-type B-Raf, in part but not always as a result of gene amplification, is one of the mechanisms underlying constitutive activation of the MAPK pathway that stimulates growth of MM cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Division / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 7
  • Genes, ras
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / enzymology
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Skin Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases