Heterotrimeric G protein is composed of a Gα-subunit and a Gβγ-dimer. Previous studies have revealed that Gβγ-dimers including the Gγ2 subunit (Gng2/GNG2) are associated with cell proliferation, differentiation, invasion and angiogenesis. At present, however, there is no information on the expression level of Gng2/GNG2 alone in any kind of tumor. In this study, we performed DNA microarray analysis in a benign melanocytic tumor and a malignant melanoma from RET-transgenic mice (RET-mice). Gng2 transcript expression levels in a malignant melanoma were less than 1/10 of the level in a benign tumor. The difference in Gng2 transcript expression levels between benign tumors and malignant melanomas was greatest among all of the G protein γ subunits examined in this study. Moreover, protein expression levels of Gng2 were decreased in malignant melanomas compared with those in benign melanocytic tumors in RET-mice. Analysis of human malignant melanomas also showed reduced GNG2 protein expression levels in five human malignant melanoma cell lines compared with the expression levels in normal human epithelial melanocytes (NHEM). Thus, we demonstrated for the first time that Gng2/GNG2 expression levels are reduced in malignant melanoma, suggesting that GNG2 could be a novel biomarker for malignant melanoma.
Keywords: G-protein; gamma subunit; malignant melanoma.