Modulation of POMC expression in human neuroectodermal cells

V. De Laurenzi, G. Melino, R. A. Knight, A. R. Pierotti, P. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuroblastoma cell lines have been reported to contain two proopiomelanocortin (POMC) mRNA transcripts. We have now shown by immunocytochemistry and radioimmunoassay (RIA) that a number of neuroectodermally derived cell lines contain immunoreactive β-endorphin although cell concentrations were not characteristic of any tumour type. To explore further the functional significance of β-endorphin expression, we analysed neuroblastoma cell lines having intermediate (I), substrate adherent (S) and neuronal (N) phenotypes. No differences in cell β-endorphin content were detected. However, the expression of POMC mRNA and of immunoreactive β- endorphin was reduced within a few hours of treatment of these cell lines with retinoic acid. Culture of the cell lines in the presence of β-endorphin resulted in small but significant increases in growth. Although the POMC gene is in the same chromosomal segment as N-myc, which is normally amplified in neuroblastoma, no corresponding amplification of POMC could be demonstrated. The data suggest that POMC gene products may contribute to the autocrine/paracrine growth of neuroectodermal tumours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1402-1409
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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