Microphthalmia-Associated Transcription Factor (MITF) Regulates Immune Cell Migration into Melanoma

Wiedemann GM, Aithal C, Kraechan A, Heise C, Cadilha BL, Zhang J, Duewell P, Ballotti R, Endres S, Bertolotto C, Kobold S

Transl Oncol 2019 Feb;12(2):350-360

Abstract

PMID: 30502589

Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is a key transcription factor in melanoma development and progression. MITF amplification and downregulation have been observed in a significant proportion of melanoma patients and correlate with clinical outcomes. Here, we have investigated the effect of MITF on melanoma chemokine expression and immune cell attraction. In B16F10 melanoma cells, MITF knockdown reduced expression of CXCL10, with concomitantly decreased attraction of immune cells and accelerated tumor outgrowth. Conversely, overexpression of MITF in YUMM1.1 melanoma cells also led to an increased immune cell attraction in vitro. Subcutaneous YUMM1.1 melanomas overexpressing MITF however showed a reduced immune infiltration of lymphocytes and an increased tumor growth. In human melanoma cell lines, silencing of MITF enhanced chemokine production and immune cell attraction, while overexpression of MITF led to lower immune cell attraction. In summary, our results show that MITF regulates chemokine expression in murine and in human melanoma cells, and affects in vivo immune cell attraction and tumor growth. These results reveal a functional relationship between MITF and immune cell infiltration, which may be exploited for cancer therapy.