The work led to an award-winning poster at the 72nd Congress of the Italian Society of Anatomy and Histology

October 15, 2018 - It plays a key role in the progression of melanoma, a very aggressive neoplasm responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths. It is the fragile X syndrome protein (FMRP) at the center of the work that won the poster award at the 72nd Congress of the Italian Society of Anatomy and Histology (SIAI).

An interdisciplinary study conducted by the Microscopic and Ultrastructural Anatomy Unit ofUniversità Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, in collaboration with researchers and clinicians Ucbm, the Tor Vergata and Sapienza Universities of Rome, the Universities of Chieti and Turin, the Center for the Biology of Disease and the Institute for Neuroscience and Disease of Louvain in Belgium.

Published on Cell death and disease, the article “The fragile X mental retardation protein regulates tumor invasiveness-related pathways in melanoma cells” (from which the poster is taken) demonstrates for the first time an association between FMRP protein expression and more invasive melanomas and opens new avenues towards the discovery of therapeutic targets in melanoma.

In fact, researchers have demonstrated that the expression of this protein is significantly correlated with important prognostic factors in melanoma (such as Breslow thickness and Clark level), as well as the risk of recurrence and patient survival. Furthermore, through complex molecular biology approaches such as the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS-Leuven) and the Nanostring n-Counter (UCBM) scholars have ascertained that the FMRP protein acts by regulating the expression of about 300 proteins involved in molecular processes relevant to the progression of melanoma.

The study was also chosen by the Departmental Faculty of Medicine and Surgery as the best of 2017 among those voted every month as part of the "Paper of the month" initiative, created to enhance the scientific work conducted by researchers Ucbm and particularly impactful.