Method of Producing a Stem Cell-Like Melanocyte
Wistar scientists have invented a method of producing a dedifferentiated melanocyte, a premelanoma stem cell-like cell, by activating specific intracellular targets and selecting for a stem cell-like melanocyte capable of proliferating under stem cell growth conditions. These dedifferentiated melanocytes increase expression of neural crest-related genes and exhibit a decrease in pigmentation-related genes, compared to untreated controls. Stem cell-like melanocytes are capable of further differentiation into various cell types, assuming neuronal, smooth muscle cell, oligodendrocyte, melanocyte, or chondrocyte phenotypes. Wistar scientists have defined an oncogenic role for Notch signaling in melanocytes and highlight the potential for Notch inhibition to be used as a therapeutic approach for the treatment of melanoma.