Metastasis is suppressed more than 95% following microcell-mediated transfer of a single copy of neomycintagged human chromosome 6 (neo6) into the human melanoma cell lines C8161 and MelJuSo. Concomitant with metastasis suppression is upregulation of NME1 (Nm23-H1) mRNA and protein expression. The purposes of this study were to determine whether NME1 expression was responsible for metastasis suppression in neo6/melanoma hybrids, and whether genes on chromosome 6 regulate NME1. Using neo6/C8161 cells, transfection of CAT reporter constructs linked to the NME1 promoter failed to consistently induce CAT. Therefore, it does not appear that genes on chromosome 6 directly control transcription of NME1. Transfection and overexpression of NME1 in MelJuSo, under the control of the CMV promoter, resulted in 40-80% inhibition of lung metastasis following i.v. inoculation of 2 x 105 cells. Only one transfectant of C8161 subclone 9 (C8161cl.9) cells was suppressed for metastasis. Control transfections with pCMVneo or pSV2neo did not suppress metastasis in either cell line. Taken together, these data suggest that NME1 can reduce metastatic potential of some human melanoma cells; but, this inhibitory activity appears to be independent of the metastasis suppression following introduction of chromosome 6 into C8161 and MelJuSo human melanoma cell lines.