Unraveling the relevance of arl gtpases in cutaneous melanoma prognosis through integrated bioinformatics analysis

Cheila Brito, Bruno Costa‐silva, Duarte C. Barral, Marta Pojo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cutaneous melanoma (CM) is the deadliest skin cancer, whose molecular pathways underlying its malignancy remain unclear. Therefore, new information to guide evidence‐based clinical decisions is required. Adenosine diphosphate (ADP)‐ribosylation factor‐like (ARL) proteins are membrane trafficking regulators whose biological relevance in CM is undetermined. Here, we investigated ARL expression and its impact on CM prognosis and immune microenvironment through integrated bioinformatics analysis. Our study found that all 22 ARLs are differentially expressed in CM. Specifically, ARL1 and ARL11 are upregulated and ARL15 is downregulated regardless of mutational frequency or copy number variations. According to TCGA data, ARL1 and ARL15 represent independent prognostic factors in CM as well as ARL11 based on GEPIA and OncoLnc. To investigate the mechanisms by which ARL1 and ARL11 increase patient survival while ARL15 reduces it, we evaluated their correlation with the immune microenvironment. CD4+ T cells and neutrophil infiltrates are significantly increased by ARL1 expression. Furthermore, ARL11 expression was correlated with 17 out of 21 immune infiltrates, including CD8+ T cells and M2 macrophages, described as having anti‐tumoral activity. Likewise, ARL11 is interconnected with ZAP70, ADAM17, and P2RX7, which are implicated in immune cell activation. Collectively, this study provides the first evidence that ARL1, ARL11, and ARL15 may influence CM progression, prognosis, and immune microenvironment remodeling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9260
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021


  • ADP‐ribosylation factor‐like (ARL)
  • Biomarkers
  • Cutaneous melanoma
  • Immune microenvironment
  • In silico study
  • Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • Small GTPases


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