Melanoma, protein linked

September 1, 2006

Evanston, Ill. - Aggressive melanoma cells secrete Nodal, a protein critical to proper embryo formation, according to researchers at Northwestern University.

Evanston, Ill. - Aggressive melanoma cells secrete Nodal, a protein critical to proper embryo formation, according to researchers at Northwestern University.

Investigators identified the potent and highly unstable embryonic growth factor by injecting aggressive melanoma cells into developing zebrafish embryos, which were used as "biosensors" for tumor cell-derived signals, and were consequently able to induce ectopic embryonic skull and backbone formation.

The finding highlights the convergence of tumorigenic and embryonic signaling pathways, researchers say.