The human melanoma cell line M24met expresses tissue factor, the cellular initiator of the blood coagulation cascade. Blocking of the coagulation pathways at the level of tissue factor, factor Xa, or thrombin inhibits hematogenous M24met metastasis in SCID mice, implicating a role for thrombin generation in this process. Dependent on cell surface tissue factor activity, M24met cells generate thrombin in vitro. Thrombin and the thrombin receptor agonist peptide TRP-14 activate a signaling pathway in M24met cells that involves an increase in intracellular calcium and induces cell proliferation. Immunofluorescence evidences expression of the signaling thrombin receptor on these cells. Thus, M24met melanoma cells express both the initiating cell surface receptor for the coagulation pathways and the central signaling receptor of the coagulation system, suggesting the in situ generation of proliferative signals which can contribute to the malignant phenotype.

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Supported by NIH Grants CA59692 (B. M. M.) and HL16411 (W. R.). E. G. F. was supported by a fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and B. M. M. is the recipient of a Junior Faculty Research Award from the American Cancer Society. This is Scripps Research Institute Manuscript 9080-IMM.

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