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Publications (4)10.86 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We have examined MC1R variant allele frequencies in the general population of South East Queensland and in a collection of adolescent dizygotic and monozygotic twins and family members to define statistical associations with hair and skin color, freckling, and mole count. Results of these studies are consistent with a linear recessive allelic model with multiplicative penetrance in the inheritance of red hair. Four alleles, D84E, R151C, R160W, and D294H, are strongly associated with red hair and fair skin with multinomial regression analysis showing odds ratios of 63, 118, 50, and 94, respectively. An additional three low-penetrance alleles V60L, V92M, and R163Q have odds ratios 6, 5, and 2 relative to the wild-type allele. To address the cellular effects of MC1R variant alleles in signal transduction, we expressed these receptors in permanently transfected HEK293 cells. Measurement of receptor activity via induction of a cAMP-responsive luciferase reporter gene found that the R151C and R160W receptors were active in the presence of NDP-MSH ligand, but at much reduced levels compared with that seen with the wild-type receptor. The ability to stimulate phosphorylation of the cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) transcription factor was also apparent in all stimulated MC1R variant allele-expressing HEK293 cell extracts as assessed by immunoblotting. In contrast, human melanoma cell lines showed wide variation in the their ability to undergo cAMP-mediated CREB phosphorylation. Culture of human melanocytes of known MC1R genotype may provide the best experimental approach to examine the functional consequences for each MC1R variant allele. With this objective, we have established more than 300 melanocyte cell strains of defined MC1R genotype.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 07/2003; 994:348-58. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent population studies have demonstrated an association with the red-hair and fair-skin phenotype with variant alleles of the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) which result in amino acid substitutions within the coding region leading to an altered receptor activity. In particular, Arg151Cys, Arg160Trp and Asp294His were the most commonly associated variants seen in the south-east Queensland population with at least one of these alleles found in 93% of those with red hair. In order to study the individual effects of these variants on melanocyte biology and melanocytic pigmentation, we established a series of human melanocyte strains genotyped for the MC1R receptor which included wild-type consensus, variant heterozygotes, compound heterozygotes and homozygotes for Arg151Cys, Arg160Trp, Val60Leu and Val92Met alleles. These strains ranged from darkly pigmented to amelanotic, with all strains of consensus sequence having dark pigmentation. UV sensitivity was found not to be associated with either MC1R genotype or the level of pigmentation with a range of sensitivities seen across all genotypes. Ultrastructural analysis demonstrated that while consensus strains contained stage IV melanosomes in their terminal dendrites, Arg151Cys and Arg160Trp homozygote strains contained only stage II melanosomes. This was despite being able to show expression of tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related protein-1 markers, although at reduced levels and an ability to convert exogenous 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-alanine (DOPA) to melanin in these strains.
    Pigment Cell Research 07/2003; 16(3):198-207. · 4.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The complete sequence of the MC1R locus has been assembled, the coding region of the gene is intronless and placed within a 12 kb region flanked by the NULP1 and TUBB4 genes. The immediate promoter region has an E-box site with homology to the M-box consensus known to bind the microphthalmia transcription factor (MITF); however, promoter deletion analysis and transactivation studies have failed to show activation through this element by MITF. Polymorphism within the coding region, immediate 5' promoter region and a variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) minisatellite within the locus have been examined in a collection of Caucasian families and African individuals. Haplotype analysis shows linkage disequilibrium between the VNTR and MC1R coding region red hair variant alleles which can be used to estimate the age of these missense changes. Assuming a mean VNTR mutation rate of 1% and a star phylogeny, we estimate the Arg151Cys variant arose 7500 years before the present day, suggesting these variants may have arisen in the Caucasian population more recently than previously thought.
    Gene 01/2002; 281(1-2):81-94. · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The complete sequence of the MC1R locus has been assembled, the coding region of the gene is intronless and placed within a 12 kb region flanked by the NULP1 and TUBB4 genes. The immediate promoter region has an E-box site with homology to the M-box consensus known to bind the microphthalmia transcription factor (MITF); however, promoter deletion analysis and transactivation studies have failed to show activation through this element by MITF. Polymorphism within the coding region, immediate 5′ promoter region and a variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) minisatellite within the locus have been examined in a collection of Caucasian families and African individuals. Haplotype analysis shows linkage disequilibrium between the VNTR and MC1R coding region red hair variant alleles which can be used to estimate the age of these missense changes. Assuming a mean VNTR mutation rate of 1% and a star phylogeny, we estimate the Arg151Cys variant arose 7500 years before the present day, suggesting these variants may have arisen in the Caucasian population more recently than previously thought.
    Gene. 12/2001;