Roles of endothelin signaling in melanocyte development and melanoma

Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2010 Apr;23(2):160-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-148X.2010.00678.x. Epub 2010 Feb 1.


Endothelin (Edn) signaling via the G-coupled, Edn receptor type B (Ednrb) is essential for the development of melanocytes from the neural crest (NC) and has been associated with melanoma progression. Edn3 plays varying roles during melanocyte development, promoting the proliferation and self-renewal of NC-derived multi- and bi-potential precursors as well as the survival, proliferation, differentiation and migration of committed melanocyte precursors. Melanocyte differentiation is achieved via the interaction of Ednrb and Kit signaling, with Ednrb being specifically required in the final differentiation step, rather than in the initial specification of melanocytic fate. Ednrb has also been implicated in the de-differentiation of mature melanocytes, a process that takes place during the malignant transformation of these cells. Ednrb was found to be upregulated in melanoma metastases and was shown to alter tumor-host interactions leading to melanoma progression. Antagonists to this receptor were shown to inhibit melanoma cell growth and increase the apoptotic rate of these cells, and to lead to disease stabilization in melanoma patients. Thus, Edn signaling inhibition may prove useful in the treatment of certain types of melanoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Melanocytes / cytology*
  • Melanocytes / metabolism*
  • Melanocytes / pathology
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Endothelins