Adhesion control of cyclin D1 and p27Kip1 levels is deregulated in melanoma cells through BRAF-MEK-ERK signaling

Oncogene. 2005 May 12;24(21):3459-71. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1208544.


Mutations in BRAF, a component of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK) cascade, are frequent in melanoma. It is important to understand how BRAF mutations contribute to malignant traits including anchorage- and growth factor-independence. We have previously shown that efficient activation of ERK in normal human epidermal melanocytes (NHEM) requires both adhesion to the extracellular matrix and growth factors. Mutant V599E BRAF is sufficient to promote ERK activation independent of adhesion and growth factors. Here, we analysed regulation of G1 cell cycle events in NHEM and human melanoma cells. We show that S phase entry in NHEM requires both adhesion and growth factor signaling through the MEK-ERK pathway. This control correlates with induction of cyclin D1 and downregulation of p27Kip1, two key G1 cell cycle events. In melanoma cells expressing V599E BRAF, cyclin D1 was constitutively expressed independent of adhesion but dependent upon MEK activation and nuclear accumulation of ERK. Reduction of cyclin D1 levels by RNA interference inhibited S phase entry in melanoma cells. Importantly, expression of V599E BRAF in NHEM was sufficient to promote cyclin D1 promoter activity in the absence of adhesion. Additionally, p27Kip1 levels were downregulated in V599E BRAF-expressing melanoma cells and active BRAF was sufficient to downregulate p27Kip1 in serum-starved NHEM. Thus, adhesion-growth factor cooperation, leading to efficient activation of ERK, regulates cyclin D1 and p27Kip1 levels in human melanocytes and mutant BRAF overrides adhesion-growth factor control of these two G1 cell cycle proteins in melanomas. These findings provide important insight into how BRAF mutations contribute to aberrant human melanocyte proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion*
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Cyclin D1 / biosynthesis*
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Down-Regulation
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / pharmacology*
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / pharmacology*
  • Melanocytes
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Cyclin D1
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases