Proteomic analysis of membrane rafts of melanoma cells identifies protein patterns characteristic of the tumor progression stage

Proteomics. 2008 Nov;8(22):4733-47. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200800169.


The molecular mechanisms controlling the progression of melanoma from a localized tumor to an invasive and metastatic disease are poorly understood. In the attempt to start defining a functional protein profile of melanoma progression, we have analyzed by LC-MS/MS the proteins associated with detergent resistant membranes (DRMs), which are enriched in cholesterol/sphingolipids-containing membrane rafts, of melanoma cell lines derived from tumors at different stages of progression. Since membrane rafts are involved in several biological processes, including signal transduction and protein trafficking, we hypothesized that the association of proteins with rafts can be regulated during melanoma development and affect protein function and disease progression. We have identified a total of 177 proteins in the DRMs of the cell lines examined. Among these, we have found groups of proteins preferentially associated with DRMs of either less malignant radial growth phase/vertical growth phase (VGP) cells, or aggressive VGP and metastatic cells suggesting that melanoma cells with different degrees of malignancy have different DRM profiles. Moreover, some proteins were found in DRMs of only some cell lines despite being expressed at similar levels in all the cell lines examined, suggesting the existence of mechanisms controlling their association with DRMs. We expect that understanding the mechanisms regulating DRM targeting and the activity of the proteins differentially associated with DRMs in relation to cell malignancy will help identify new molecular determinants of melanoma progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / analysis
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Computational Biology
  • Detergents / pharmacology
  • Disease Progression*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Gangliosides / analysis
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Lymphoma / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Membrane Microdomains / chemistry*
  • Membrane Microdomains / drug effects
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism


  • Detergents
  • Gangliosides
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Cholesterol