Microcell-mediated transfer of chromosome 6 into human melanoma cell lines C8161 and MelJuSo suppresses metastasis by at least 95% without affecting tumorigenicity. Subtractive hybridization and differential display were used to identify the molecule(s) responsible for suppressing metastasis in neo6/melanoma (neo6/C8161 and neo6/MelJuSo) hybrids. Seven cDNA clones exhibiting quantitatively or qualitatively higher expression in neo6/melanoma hybrids were obtained. These genes fell into 2 categories: 1) transcription-related genes (AP-2A, HMG-I(Y) and a novel isoform of nucleophosmin B23), which have previously been shown to regulate metastasis-associated genes; and 2) novel genes. One of the novel genes, designated KiSS-1, significantly suppressed metastasis of the human malignant melanoma cell lines MelJuSo and a highly metastatic subclone of C8161, C8161cl.9, following transfection and constitutive expression. Our results illustrate the power of subtractive hybridization and differential display to identify functional metastasis-controlling genes in human melanoma.