Background: A giant congenital melanocytic nevus (GCMN) is a malformation of the pigment cells. It is a distress to the patients for two reasons: one is disfigurement, and the other is the possibility of malignant changes. However, the underlying mechanisms of the development of GCMN and melanotumorigenesis in GCMN are unknown. Hence, the aim of this study was to identify the proteomic alterations and associated functional pathways in GCMN.
Results: Proteomic differences between GCMN (n = 3) and normal skin samples (n = 3) were analyzed by one-dimensional-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry Relative levels of the selected proteins were validated using western blot analysis. The biological processes associated with the abundance modified proteins were analyzed using bioinformatic tools. Among the 46 abundance modified proteins, expression of 4 proteins was significantly downregulated and expression of 42 proteins was significantly upregulated in GCMN compared to normal skin samples (p < 0.05). More importantly, 31% of the upregulated proteins were implicated in various cancers, with five proteins being specifically related with melanoma. The abundance modified proteins in GCMN were involved in the biological processes of neurotrophin signaling, melanosome, and downregulated of MTA-3 in ER-negative breast tumors. In particular, an increase in the expression of the 14-3-3 protein family members appeared to be associated with key cellular biological functions in GCMN. Western blot analysis confirmed the upregulation of 14-3-3epsilon, 14-3-3 tau, and prohibitin in GCMN.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that GCMN exhibits potential proteomic alterations, which may play a role in melanotumorigenesis, and the significant alteration of 14-3-3 family proteins could be a key regulator of the biological pathway remodeling in GCMN.