Prof. Dr. Anja Bosserhoff

Molecular understanding of malignant melanoma - Lessons from embryogenesis

Institute for Biochemistry

Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg

Fahrstrasse 17

91054 Erlangen


Tel: +49 (0)941/94 46 705
Fax: +49 (0)941/94 46 602 



Deutsche Version


Melanoma is an aggressively disseminating cancer with high incidence still continuously rising. Melanoma cells derive from melanocytes, which originate from the neural crest and display several characteristics of neuronal cells. During embryogenesis melanoblasts, the precursors of melanocytes, reveal several “tumorigenic” features as they migrate actively and subsequently "invade" into the epidermis. These findings lead to our hypothesis, that only few but critical molecular alterations allow melanoma cells to "reinitiate and exploit" characteristics of melanoblasts, and therefore, a detailed understanding of neural crest differentiation and melanoblast migration will lead to crucial novel information of melanoma development and progression.


These pioneering experimental approaches are designed to discover novel central factors for melanoma development and progression, which have not been associated with the pathogenesis of melanoma before, and will result in a better molecular and cellular understanding of this biological system.

Group members

... coming soon

Publications within BioSysNet

Schiffner S, Braunger BM, de Jel MM, Coupland SE, Tamm ER, Bosserhoff AK (2014). Tg(Grm1) transgenic mice: A murine model that mimics spontaneous uveal melanoma in humans? Exp Eye Res 127:59-68.


de Jel MM, Engelmann JC, Kunz M, Schiffner S, Kuphal S, Bosserhoff AK (2014). Transcriptome sequencing of melanocytic nevi and melanomas from Grm1 transgenic mice to determine melanoma driver mutations. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 27(4):678-80.


Kappelmann M, Bosserhoff AK, Kuphal S (2014). AP-1/c-Jun transcription factors: regulation and function in malignant melanoma. Eur J Cell Biol 93(1-2):76-81.


Kuphal S, Wallner S, Bosserhoff AK (2013). Impact of LIF (leukemia inhibitory factor) expression in malignant melanoma. Exp Mol Pathol 95(2):156-65. 

Publications before BioSysNet

Bosserhoff AK, Ellmann L, Kuphal S: Melanoblasts in culture as an in vitro system to analyze melanoma. Exp Dermatol 20: 435-440 (2011)


Massoumi R, Kuphal S, Hellerbrand C, Haas B, Wild P, Spruss T, Pfeifer A, Fassler R, Bosserhoff AK: Down-regulation of CYLD expression by Snail promotes tumor progression in malignant melanoma. J Exp Med 206: 221-232 (2009)


Poser I, Tatzel J, Kuphal S, Bosserhoff AK: Functional role of MIA in melanocytes and early development of melanoma. Oncogene 23: 6115-6124 (2004)


Schmidt J, Friebel K, Schönherr R, Coppolino MG, Bosserhoff AK: Directed, migration-associated secretion of MIA at the cell rear regulates melanoma cell mobility. Cell Res 20: 1224-1238 (2010)


Stoll R, Renner C, Zweckstetter M, Bruggert M, Ambrosius D, Palme S, Engh RA, Golob M, Breibach I, Buettner R, Voelter W, Holak TA, Bosserhoff AK: The extracellular human melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) protein adopts an SH3 domain-like fold. EMBO J 20: 340-349 (2001)


Tatzel J, Poser I, Schroeder J, Bosserhoff AK: Inhibition of melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) expression in melanoma cells leads to molecular and phenotypic changes. Pigment Cell Res 18: 92-101 (2005)