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Mar Biotechnol (NY). 2001 Jun;3(Supplement 1):S72-80.

Genomic plasticity and melanoma formation in the fish Xiphophorus.

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Physiologische Chemie I Biozentrum der Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, D-97074 Würzburg, Germany.


Melanoma formation in certain interspecific hybrids of the genus Xiphophorus (Teleostei: Poeciliidae) is associated with the overexpression of the Xmrk receptor tyrosine kinase oncogene. The Xmrk oncogene arose by duplication of the pre-existing Xmrk protooncogene in a highly unstable subtelomeric region of the X and Y sex chromosomes undergoing frequent rearrangements including duplications, deletions, amplifications, and transpositions. Some of these rearrangements are likely to be responsible for the overexpression of the Xmrk oncogene in melanoma. The oncogene itself is very unstable in Xiphophorus and is frequently removed by deletion or disrupted by transposable elements. The Xmrk oncogene region displays a high concentration of retroelements not observed in the corresponding Xmrk protooncogene region. Particularly, a retrovirus long terminal repeat-like sequence was amplified in the proximity of the Xmrk oncogene. Additional genes, some of them also duplicated copies, were detected in this region and might be involved in modulating the melanoma's phenotype.

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