Protein Expression Analysis of Melanocyte Differentiation Antigen TRP-2

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Melanocyte differentiation antigens, such as gp100, tyrosinase, and Melan-A and their corresponding antibodies HMB45, T311, and A103, are major diagnostic tools in surgical pathology. Little is known about tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP-2, or dopachrome tautomerase/DCT) another melanocyte differentiation antigen, which is an enzymatic component of melanogenesis. We identified a commercial reagent to TRP-2, monoclonal antibody (mAb) C-9 and undertook a comprehensive analysis to assess its specificity and usefulness for surgical pathology. Subsequently, we analyzed panels of normal tissues and tumors. We show that TRP-2 is regularly expressed in melanocytes of the normal skin. In cutaneous nevi, TRP-2 is present in junctional as well as in dermal nevocytes. In malignant tumors, C-9 reactivity is restricted to melanocytic and related lesions and present in 84% and 58% of primary and metastatic melanomas, respectively. Ten primary melanomas of the anorectal mucosa were all positive. Like the other melanocyte differentiation antigens, TRP-2 was absent in 6 desmoplastic melanomas. Also, only 2 of 9 angiomyolipomas were TRP-2 positive. We conclude that mAb C-9 is a valuable reagent for the analysis of TRP-2 expression in archival surgical pathology material. The expression pattern of TRP-2 in melanocytic and related lesions appears to parallel other melanocyte differentiation antigens, although the overall incidence is lower than other antigens, such as Melan-A or gp100.

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