Digital karyotyping reveals frequent inactivation of the dystrophin/DMD gene in malignant melanoma

Cell Cycle. 2007 Jan 15;6(2):189-98. doi: 10.4161/cc.6.2.3733. Epub 2007 Jan 19.


Malignant melanoma is still poorly understood at the genomic level. Recently, a new technique for the high-resolution analysis of copy number changes named digital karyotyping was introduced. This approach is derived from SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression) and allows the detection of genomic amplifications and deletions, which are indicative of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Four human melanoma cell lines were subjected to analysis by digital karyotyping. 828,780 genomic tags were generated and analyzed quantitatively. Thereby, we identified a somatic, homozygous deletion of 570 kbp removing exons 3-29 of the dystrophin (DMD, Duchenne muscular dystrophy) gene. Analysis of 51 melanoma cell lines further revealed a homozygous and a hemizygous deletion in DMD. Furthermore, DMD mRNA expression was downregulated with respect to primary melanocytes and accompanied by loss of dystrophin protein expression in 38 of 55 (69%) and significantly reduced in 10 of 55 (18%) melanoma cell lines. Sequence analysis of DMD cDNAs in 37 melanoma cell lines revealed six new sequence variants with a significantly lower frequency than previously described DMD polymorphisms, which may affect dystrophin function. Knock-down of DMD enhanced migration and invasion, whereas re-expression of DMD attenuated migration and induced a senescent phenotype in melanoma cell lines. Therefore, loss of DMD may critically change the migratory and proliferative capacity of melanocytes. Taken together, our results suggest that inactivation of DMD is involved in the pathogenesis of malignant melanoma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Dystrophin / genetics*
  • Dystrophin / metabolism
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping / methods
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DMD protein, human
  • Dystrophin