Development of heritable melanoma in transgenic mice

Hua Zhu, Kenneth Reuhl, Xin Zhang, Rosanne Botha, Kevin Ryan, Joyce Wei, Suzie Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


Transfer of genetic material into recipient cells by transfection has been used successfully to isolate genes responsible for particular phenotypic traits. By using this strategy, DNA fragments were isolated that when transfected into appropriate uncommitted cells will commit the recipient cells to undergo adipocyte differentiation. Transgenic mice were generated with one of the active DNA clones, Clone B. The transgenic mice were expected to display an adipocyte-related phenotype; however, the animals developed melanin containing tumors at a young age. Insertion of Clone B into the mouse DNA probably interrupted a gene(s) that is involved in the regulation of cell growth, specifically regulation of cell growth in melanin-producing cells. Histopathologic analysis of these mice showed dark spots on the ear lobes of the animals as early as 10-12 d of age. By 3 mo, in addition to the ear lobes, pigmented tumors could be observed in other organs. A significant number of these transgenic mice died within 1 y of age. The melanomas developed spontaneously in these animals in the absence of any known chemical carcinogen or ultraviolet radiation. This line of mice provides a way of identifying genes involved in regulation of cell growth control and differentiation. These mice also serve as a model system to investigate the molecular, genetic, and phenotypic characterization and development of melanomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-252
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


  • Insertion mutagenesis
  • Melanocytes
  • Spontaneous skin lesions

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