Bennett-Sviderskaya Laboratory

Dorothy C Bennett,
Professor of Cell Biology

Elena V Sviderskaya
Senior Lecturer

Molecular Cell Biology Group
Biomedical Sciences Res
earch Centre
Jenner Wing
(box J2A)
St. George's, University of London
Cranmer Terrace
London SW17 0RE, UK

Looking for our cell lines? - See Wellcome Trust Functional Genomics Cell Bank

Looking for cell culture methods? See Materials and Methods used in melanocyte culture

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Current group members:

Shyamal Amin (Research Student)

Jaskaren Kohli (Research Student)

Jo Castle (Research Student)

Philip Goff (Research Assistant)

Alison Clarke (MRes Student)

Sweta Chandel (Project Student)

Victoria Josee Ekwalla (Project Student)

Neelam Ghous (Project Student)

Omar Khalil (Project Student)

Charlene Orio (Project Student)


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Our research interests:

The melanocyte, or pigment cell. (Available in a range of pleasing, natural colours, including gold if you count fish.)

- Its cancer - malignant melanoma. (Not pleasing; a common, highly malignant and rapidly progressing disease.) Molecular genetics of melanoma.

- The role of cell senescence and immortalization in melanoma development and therapy, and in ageing.

- Cell senescence and wound healing: possible therapeutic applications.

- Genetics of melanocytes. Pigmentation is an attractive and accessible system for genetic study; for example over 350 genetic loci required for normal pigmentation are known in the mouse. The molecular, cellular and genetic basis of pigmentary defects, like vitiligo and Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome.

- Development of melanocytes. Characterization of the developmental precursors of melanocytes: melanoblasts and stem cells. Analysis and control of gene expression during differentiation.


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Current research topics:

Melanocyte senescence and immortalization: relations to genetics and progression in cutaneous malignant melanoma

The therapeutic potential of cell senescence pathways

Molecular genetics of pigmentation in mice and humans

Control of differentiation and determination of immortal mouse neural crest-like stem cell lines


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The Wellcome Trust Functional Genomics Cell Bank :

Our research group maintains the Wellcome Trust Functional Genomics Cell Bank, Director Dr Elena Sviderskaya.

The bank holds over 250 immortal lines of mammalian cells of various types, including:

-over 120 lines of mouse melanocytes, mostly carrying mutations at various pigmentary loci;

- 7 lines of mouse melanoblasts, and

- around 40 lines of human melanoma cells from various stages of melanoma progression.

- 4 lines/10 sublines of immortalized normal human melanocytes

Many of these are freely available to researchers on request, with some restrictions on unpublished lines and lines obtained from other laboratories.

Most frequently requested line:

melan-a a/a (nonagouti, black) mouse melanocytes, from C57BL/6 mice.


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Recent group publications (from 2011):

Birlea SA, Y Jin, DC Bennett, DM Herbstman, MR Wallace, WT McCormack, EH Kemp, DJ Gawkrodger, AP Weetman, M Picardo, G Leone, A Taïeb, T Jouary, K Ezzedine, N van Geel, J Lambert, A Overbeck, PR Fain & RA Spritz (2011). Comprehensive association analysis of candidate genes for generalized vitiligo supports XBP1 , FOXP3, and TSLP. J. Inv. Dermatol. 131, 371-381.

Easty DJ, S Gray, KJ O'Byrne, D O'Donnell & DC Bennett (2011). Receptor tyrosine kinases and their activation in melanoma. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 24 , 446-461. (Review)

Jin Y, SA Birlea, PR Fain, K Gowan, SL Riccardi, PJ Holland, DC Bennett, MR Wallace, WT McCormack, EH Kemp, DJ Gawkrodger, AP Weetman, M Picardo, G Leone, A Taïeb, T Jouary, K Ezzedine, N van Geel, J Lambert, A Overbeck & RA Spritz (2011). Genome-wide analysis identifies a QTL in the MHC class II region associated with generalized vitiligo age-of-onset. J. Inv. Dermatol. 131 , 1308-1312.

van Geel N, R Speeckaert, A Taïeb, M Picardo, M Böhm, DJ Gawkrodger, K Schallreuter, DC Bennett, W van der Veen, S Moretti, W Westerhof, K Ezzedine & Y Gauthier (2011). Koebner's phenomenon in vitiligo: European position paper. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 24 , 564-573. (Review)

Soo JK, AD MacKenzie Ross, DM Kallenberg, C Milagre, H Chong, J Chow, L Hill, T Hoare, RS Collinson, M Hossain, WN Keith, R Marais & DC Bennett (2011). Malignancy without immortality? Cellular immortalization as a possible late event in melanoma progression. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 24 , 490-503.

Soo JK, AD MacKenzie Ross & DC Bennett (2011). Isolation and culture of melanoma and naevus cells and cell lines. In: Cancer Cell Culture: Methods and Protocols, 2nd ed., editor IA Cree. Methods Mol. Biol. 731 , 141-150. (Springer, New York).

Bennett DC (2011). Profile: Richard A Spritz. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 24, 741.

Rae J, A Viros, R Hayward, DC Bennett, N Dhomen, BJ Longley, JS Reis-Filho & R Marais (2012). (V600E)Braf::Tyr-CreERT2::K14-Kitl mice do not develop superficial spreading-like melanoma: keratinocyte Kit ligand is insufficient to "translocate" (V600E)Braf-driven melanoma to the epidermis. J. Inv. Dermatol. 132, 488-491.

Huang Z-M, M Chinen, P Chang, T Xie, L Zhong, S Demetriou, MP Patel, R Scherzer, EV Sviderskaya, DC Bennett, G Millhauser, DH Oh, JE Cleaver & ML Wei (2012). Targeting protein-trafficking pathways alters melanoma treatment sensitivity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 109, 553-558.

Cairney CJ, AE Bilsland, TRJ Evans, J Roffey, DC Bennett, M Narita, CJ Torrance & WN Keith (2012). Cancer cell senescence: a new frontier in drug development. Drug Discovery Today 17, 269-76.

Jin Y, SA Birlea, PR Fain, TM Ferrara, S Ben, SL Riccardi, JB Cole, K Gowan, PJ Holland, DC Bennett , RM Luiten, A Wolkerstorfer, JP Wietze van der Veen, A Hartmann, S Eichner, G Schuler, N van Geel, J Lambert, EH Kemp, DJ Gawkrodger, AP Weetman, A Taïeb, T Jouary, K Ezzedine, MR Wallace, WT McCormack, M Picardo, G Leone, A Overbeck, NB Silverberg & RA Spritz (2012). Genome-wide association analyses identify 13 new susceptibility loci for generalized vitiligo. Nature Genet. 44, 676-681.

Sitaram A, MK Dennis, R Chaudhuri, W De Jesus-Rojas, D Tenza, S Gangi Setty, CS Wood, EV Sviderskaya, DC Bennett, G Raposo, JS Bonifacino & MS Marks (2012). Differential recognition of a dileucine-based sorting signal by AP-1 and AP-3 reveals a requirement for both BLOC-1 and AP-3 in delivery of OCA2 to melanosomes. Mol. Biol. Cell 23, 3178-3192 .

MacKenzie Ross AD, MG Cook, H Chong, M Hossain, HS Pandha & DC Bennett (2013). Senescence evasion in melanoma progression: uncoupling of DNA-damage signaling from p53 activation and p21 expression . Pigm. Cell Melanoma Res. 26, 226-235.

Nemlich Y, E Greenberg, R Ortenberg, MJ Besser, I Barshack, J Jacob-Hirsch, E Jacoby, E Eyal, L Rivkin, VG Prieto, N Chakravarti, L Duncan , DM Kallenberg, E Galun, DC Bennett, N Amariglio, M Bar-Eli, J Schachter, G Rechavi & G Markel (2013). Loss of ADAR1 by microRNAs in metastatic melanoma promotes malignancy. J. Clin. Inv. In press.


Selected earlier papers (most cited):

Bennett DC, PJ Cooper & IR Hart (1987). A line of non-tumorigenic mouse melanocytes, syngeneic with the B16 melanoma and requiring a tumour promoter for growth. Int. J. Cancer 39, 414-418.

Jin Y, CM Mailloux, K Gowan, SL Riccardi, G LaBerge, DC Bennett, PR Fain & RA Spritz (2007). NALP1 in vitiligo-associated multiple autoimmune disease. New Engl. J. Med. 356, 1216-1225.

Bennett DC, LA Peachey, H Durbin & PS Rudland (1978). A possible mammary stem cell line. Cell 15, 283-298.

Bennett DC & ML Lamoreux (2003). The color loci of mice - a genetic century. Pigment Cell Res. 16, 333-344.

Alkhateeb A, PR Fain, A Thody, DC Bennett & RA Spritz (2003). Epidemiology of vitiligo and associated autoimmune diseases in Caucasian probands and their families. Pigment Cell Res. 16, 208-214.

Brooks, RF, DC Bennett & JA Smith (1980). Mammalian cell cycles need two random transitions. Cell 19, 493-504.

Gray-Schopfer VC, SC Cheong, H Chong, J Chow, A Moss, ZA Abdel-Malek, R Marais, D Wynford-Thomas & DC Bennett (2006). Cellular senescence in naevi and immortalisation in melanoma: a role for p16? Br. J. Cancer 95, 496-505.

Bennett DC, PJ Cooper, TJ Dexter, LM Devlin, J Heasman & B Nester (1989). Cloned mouse melanocyte lines carrying the germline coat colour mutations, albino and brown. Development 105, 379-385.

Easty DJ, SP Hill, M-Y Hsu, ME Fallowfield, VA Flørenes, M Herlyn & DC Bennett (1999). Upregulation of ephrin-A1 during melanoma progression. Int. J. Cancer 84, 494-501.

Bennett DC (2003). Human melanocyte senescence and melanoma susceptibility genes. Oncogene 22, 3063-3069.

Sviderskaya EV, SP Hill, TJ Evans-Whipp, L Chin, SJ Orlow, DJ Easty, SC Cheong, D Beach, RA DePinho & DC Bennett (2002). p16 Ink4a in melanocyte senescence and differentiation. J Natl. Cancer Inst. 94 , 446-454.


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Job vacancies

Sorry, no vacancies at present.

We are always interested to hear from bright and creative researchers who are thinking about applying for their own funding/ fellowships on topics related to ours, and need a host lab.


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Other Related Web Sites

International Federation of Pigment Cell Societies (IFPCS) Home Page

(DCB is Past President of the IFPCS)

IFPCS Color Genes Page

European Society for Pigment Cell Research

(DCB is Past President of the ESPCR)

The Journal:- Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research

(DCB is on the Editorial Board)

Cell Senescence Conference in July 2013

The Society for Melanoma Research

Information on Melanoma (Cancer Research UK)

Information on Melanoma (National Cancer Institute, USA)

UK Cancer Statistics (CR-UK)

The Vitiligo Society (for patients, UK)

(DCB is past Chair of the Society's Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee)

The National Vitiligo Foundation (for patients, USA)

ARIV-Onlus (for vitiligo patients, Italy [vitiligine, Italia])

The Vitiligo European Task Force (for researchers. DCB is a member.)

Information on Albinism (National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation)

Information on Waardenburg Syndrome (National Institutes of Health)

Information on Hirschsprung's Disease (from International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders)

The Coat Colors of Mice: A Model for Mammalian Gene Action and Interaction by W.K. Silvers:- An online adaptation of a classic textbook.

The Colors of Mice: A model genetic network by ML Lamoreux, V Delmas, L Larue & DC Bennett (2010). Our update of Silvers.


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Page last updated 11 July, 2013