Morphological and biochemical analysis of the secretory pathway in melanoma cells with distinct metastatic potential

Inmaculada Ayala, Teresa Babià, Massimiliano Baldassarre, Arsenio Pompeo, Angels Fabra, Jan Willem Kok, Alberto Luini, Roberto Buccione, Gustavo Egea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this report, we have investigated whether alterations of the morphological and functional aspects of the biosecretory membrane system are associated with the metastatic potential of tumor cells. To this end, we have analyzed the morphology of the Golgi complex, the cytoskeleton organization and membrane trafficking steps of the secretory pathway in two human melanoma A375 cell line variants with low (A375-P) and high metastatic (A375-MM) potential. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that in A375-P cells, the Golgi complex showed a collapsed morphology. Conversely, in A375-MM cells, the Golgi complex presented a reticular and extended morphology. At the ultrastructural level, the Golgi complex of A375-P cells was fragmented and cisternae were swollen. When the cytoskeleton was analyzed, the microtubular network appeared normal in both cell variants, whereas actin stress fibers were largely absent in A375-P, but not in A375-MM cells. In addition, the F-actin content in A375-P cells was significantly lower than in A375-MM cells. These morphological differences in A375-P cells were accompanied by acceleration and an increase in the endoplasmic reticulum to Golgi and the trans-Golgi network to cell surface membrane transport, respectively. Our results indicate that in human A375 melanoma cells, metastatic potential correlates with a well-structured morphofunctional organization of the Golgi complex and actin cytoskeleton. Copyright (C) 1999 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-320
Number of pages6
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 28 1999


  • A375
  • Actin
  • Cancer
  • Golgi complex
  • Metastasis
  • Secretory pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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