Washington University in St. Louis

New Publication for Mike Onken and the Cooper Lab

Congratulations to Mike Onken, Jinmei Li and John Cooper on their just-published paper in PLoS One!

Onken, MD, Li, J, and Cooper, JA.  (2014)  Uveal Melanoma Cells Utilize a Novel Route for Transendothelial Migration.  PLoS One  [Published December 15]

Abstract:  Uveal melanoma arises in the eye, and it spreads to distant organs in almost half of patients, leading to a fatal outcome. To metastasize, uveal melanoma cells must transmigrate into and out of the microvasculature, crossing the monolayer of endothelial cells that separates the vessel lumen from surrounding tissues. We investigated how human uveal melanoma cells cross the endothelial cell monolayer, using a cultured cell system with primary human endothelial cell monolayers on hydrogel substrates. We found that uveal melanoma cells transmigrate by a novel and unexpected mechanism. Uveal melanoma cells intercalate into the endothelial cell monolayer and flatten out, assuming a shape and geometry similar to those of endothelial cells in the monolayer. After an extended period of time in the intercalated state, the uveal melanoma cells round up and migrate underneath the monolayer. VCAM is present on endothelial cells, and anti-VCAM antibodies slowed the process of intercalation. Depletion of BAP1, a known suppressor of metastasis in patients, increased the amount of transmigration of uveal melanoma cells in transwell assays; but BAP1 depletion did not affect the rate of intercalation, based on movies of living cells. Our results reveal a novel route of transendothelial migration for uveal melanoma cells, and they provide insight into the mechanism by which loss of BAP1 promotes metastasis.

* To access the complete journal article, click here.


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