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GPR4 in the pH-dependent migration of melanoma cells in the tumor microenvironment

Published date

December 23, 2022


Due to its high metastatic potential, malignant melanoma is one of the deadliest skin cancers. In melanoma as well as in other cancers, acidification of the tumor microenvironment (= TME, inverse pH-gradient) is a well-known driver of tumor progression and metastasis. Membrane-bound receptors, such as the proton-sensitive GPCR (pH-GPCR) GPR4, are considered as potential initiators of the signaling cascades relevant to malignant transformation. In this study, we investigated the pH-dependent migration of GPR4 wildtype/overexpressing SK-Mel-28 cells by using an impedance-based electrical wounding and migration assay and classical Boyden chamber experiments. Migration of GPR4 overexpressing SK-Mel-28 cells was enhanced in a range of pH 6.5 - pH 7.5 as compared to controls in the impedance-based electrical wounding and migration assay. In Boyden chamber experiments, GPR4 overexpression only increased migration at pH 7.5 in a Matrigel-free setup, but not at pH 6.5. Results indicate that GPR4 is involved in the migration of melanoma cells, especially in the tumor periphery, and that this process is affected by pH in the TME.

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