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Loss of the CDKN2A tumor suppressor is associated with melanoma metastasis, but the mechanisms connecting the phenomena are unknown. Using CRISPR-Cas9 to engineer a cellular model of melanoma initiation from primary human melanocytes, we discovered that a lineage-restricted transcription factor, BRN2, is downstream of CDKN2A and directly regulated by E2F1. In a cohort of melanocytic tumors that capture distinct progression stages, we observed that CDKN2A loss coincides with both the onset of invasive behavior and increased BRN2 expression. Loss of the CDKN2A protein product p16INK4A permitted metastatic dissemination of human melanoma lines in mice, a phenotype rescued by inhibition of BRN2. These results demonstrate a mechanism by which CDKN2A suppresses the initiation of melanoma invasion through inhibition of BRN2. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Hanlin Zeng, Aparna Jorapur, A Hunter Shain, Ursula E Lang, Rodrigo Torres, Yuntian Zhang, Andrew S McNeal, Thomas Botton, Jue Lin, Matthew Donne, Ingmar N Bastian, Richard Yu, Jeffrey P North, Laura Pincus, Beth S Ruben, Nancy M Joseph, Iwei Yeh, Boris C Bastian, Robert L Judson. Bi-allelic Loss of CDKN2A Initiates Melanoma Invasion via BRN2 Activation. Cancer cell. 2018 Jul 09;34(1):56-68.e9

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PMID: 29990501

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