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While the major drivers of melanoma initiation, including activation of NRAS/BRAF and loss of PTEN or CDKN2A, have been identified, the role of key transcription factors that impose altered transcriptional states in response to deregulated signaling is not well understood. The POU domain transcription factor BRN2 is a key regulator of melanoma invasion, yet its role in melanoma initiation remains unknown. Here, in a BrafV600E PtenF/+ context, we show that BRN2 haplo-insufficiency promotes melanoma initiation and metastasis. However, metastatic colonization is less efficient in the absence of Brn2. Mechanistically, BRN2 directly induces PTEN expression and in consequence represses PI3K signaling. Moreover, MITF, a BRN2 target, represses PTEN transcription. Collectively, our results suggest that on a PTEN heterozygous background somatic deletion of one BRN2 allele and temporal regulation of the other allele elicits melanoma initiation and progression.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature communications

Publication Date





Institut Curie, Université PSL, CNRS UMR3347, Inserm U1021, Normal and Pathological Development of Melanocytes, Orsay, France.


Cell Line, Tumor, Animals, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Humans, Mice, Melanoma, Skin Neoplasms, Disease Progression, Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf, Homeodomain Proteins, RNA, Small Interfering, Microarray Analysis, Immunohistochemistry, Cohort Studies, Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, Cell Proliferation, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Mutation, Genes, Tumor Suppressor, POU Domain Factors, PTEN Phosphohydrolase, Microphthalmia-Associated Transcription Factor, Gene Knockdown Techniques, DNA Copy Number Variations, Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases, Haploinsufficiency, Carcinogenesis