Fate mapping melanoma persister cells through regression and into recurrent disease in adult zebrafish

Jana Travnickova, Sarah Muise, Sonia Wojciechowska, Alessandro Brombin, Zhiqiang Zeng, Adelaide I J Young, Cameron Wyatt, E Elizabeth Patton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Melanoma heterogeneity and plasticity underlie therapy resistance. Some tumour cells possess innate resistance, while others reprogramme during drug exposure and survive to form persister cells, a source of potential cancer cells for recurrent disease. Tracing individual melanoma cell populations through tumour regression and into recurrent disease remains largely unexplored, in part, because complex animal models are required for live imaging of cell populations over time. Here, we apply tamoxifen-inducible creERt2/loxP lineage tracing to a zebrafish model of MITF-dependent melanoma regression and recurrence to image and trace cell populations in vivo through disease stages. Using this strategy, we show that melanoma persister cells at the minimal residual disease site originate from the primary tumour. Next, we fate mapped rare MITF-independent persister cells and demonstrate that these cells directly contribute to progressive disease. Multiplex immunohistochemistry confirmed MITF-independent persister cells give rise to Mitfa+ cells in recurrent disease. Taken together, our work reveals a direct contribution of persister cell populations to recurrent disease, and provides a resource for lineage tracing methodology in adult zebrafish cancer models.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisease Models and Mechanisms
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Zebrafish
  • lineage tracing
  • fate mapping
  • melanoma
  • persister cells
  • recurrent disease


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