Cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is a common skin cancer. About 50% of CMM sporadic tumours have lost one copy of the chromosome 9p21 region. To identify genes involved in the initiation and/or progression of CMM we have characterised the 9p21 melanoma deleted region and screened the human expressed sequence tag ( EST) databases (dbEST) to search for expressed genes. We have identified the gene that encodes the human orthologue of the rat phospholipase A2 activating protein (PLAP). PLAP was considered a potential candidate to be involved in malignant melanoma because it maps to the critical region for CMM and because the PLA2 gene has been identified as a modifier of the APC gene, responsible for the adenomatous polyposis phenotype in the mouse. PLAP encodes a protein of 738 amino acids and has a high DNA (90%) and protein (97%) sequence similarity with the rat and mouse PLAP protein. PLAP has a region of WD40 repeats in the amino-terminus, which allows us to include this protein in the superfamily of β-transducin proteins. Northern blot hybridisation gave a fragment of 4.5 kb, with higher expression in heart compared to other tissues. PLAP was localised at chromosome 9p21, between marker AFM218xg11 and TEK. SSCP analysis of the coding region of PLAP revealed no variants in the studied samples, but one of six CMM samples analysed by RT-PCR showed specific inactivation of PLAP. Despite PLAP s important role in mediating several cellular responses and its localisation to the chromosome 9p21 region deleted in CMM, it is unlikely that point mutations or deletions in the coding region of PLAP are responsible for the initiation or progression of CMM. Further studies on PLAP inactivation should be performed to clarify its potential involvement in CMM. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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