Melanoma is an aggressive cancer typically arising from transformation of melanocytes residing in the basal layer of the epidermis, where they are in direct contact with surrounding keratinocytes. The role of keratinocytes in shaping the melanoma tumor microenvironment remains understudied. We previously showed that temporary loss of the keratinocyte-specific cadherin, Desmoglein 1 (Dsg1), controls paracrine signaling between normal melanocytes and keratinocytes to stimulate the protective tanning response. Here, we provide evidence that melanoma cells hijack this intercellular communication by secreting factors that keep Dsg1 expression low in the surrounding keratinocytes, which in turn generate their own paracrine signals that enhance melanoma spread through CXCL1/CXCR2 signaling. Evidence suggests a model whereby paracrine signaling from melanoma cells increases levels of the transcriptional repressor Slug, and consequently decreases expression of the Dsg1 transcriptional activator Grhl1. Together, these data support the idea that paracrine crosstalk between melanoma cells and keratinocytes resulting in chronic keratinocyte Dsg1 reduction contributes to melanoma cell movement associated with tumor progression.

This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at
You do not currently have access to this content.