Donald W Roberts

University of Queensland , Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Are you Donald W Roberts?

Claim your profile

Publications (7)31.64 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A co-culture system of melanocytic cells and keratinocytes was used to examine dendricity and dopachrome tautomerase (DCT) responses in low penetrant 'r' homozygote and 'R/+' heterozygote MC1R variant allele expressing cells compared to that of wild-type (WT) cells. The V60L-/- homozygote r variant cells showed similar responses to ligand as WT MC1R strains, while V92M-/- homozygote r variant cells were generally shown to have greater dendricity and express higher DCT than the WT cells, even at basal levels. The R151C+/- heterozygote cells showed similar responses to WT cells, while the R160W+/- and D294H+/- variant cells were reduced in their responses to NDP-MSH, but still had an active cAMP response with forskolin treatment. These responses are consistent with the dominant negative effect of these alleles on the MC1R WT allele that has previously been demonstrated genetically and biochemically.
    Experimental Dermatology 05/2011; 20(8):681-4. · 3.58 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The melanocortin-1 receptor (MCIR) is a G-protein-coupled receptor expressed primarily in melanocytes and is known to play a pivotal role in the regulation of pigmentation in mammals. In humans MC1R has been found to be highly polymorphic with several functional variants associated with the phenotype of red hair color and fair skin, cutaneous UV sensitivity, and increased risk of developing melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. Recent evidence suggests that MC1R plays a photo-protective role in melanocytes in response to UV irradiation. Relatively few genetic targets of MC1R signaling have been identified independent of the pigmentation pathway. Here we show that MC1R signaling in B16 mouse melanoma cells and primary human melanocytes rapidly, and transiently, induces the transcription of the NR4A subfamily of orphan nuclear receptors. Furthermore, primary human melanocytes harboring homozygous RHC variant MC1R alleles exhibited an impaired induction of NR4A genes in response to the potent MC1R agonist (Nle4,D-Phe7)-alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone. Using small interference RNA-mediated attenuation of NR4A1 and NR4A2 expression in melanocytes, the ability to remove cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers following UV irradiation appeared to be impaired in the context of MC1R signaling. These data identify the NR4A receptor family as potential mediators of an MC1R-coordinated DNA damage response to UV exposure in melanocytic cells.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2008; 283(18):12564-70. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The occurrence of red hair and pale skin in individuals, which is associated with UV-radiation sensitivity and increased skin cancer risk, is mainly due to polymorphisms in the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) expressed in melanocytes. We have established a serum free human melanocyte-keratinocyte coculture system to study the behavior and functional abilities of melanocytes expressing MC1R red hair color (RHC) variants in order to identify differences from their wild type (WT) counterparts. This model revealed the importance of elevated calcium levels in promoting strong melanocyte interaction with the surrounding keratinocytes and resulted in a dendritic melanocyte morphology similar to that in skin. However, the dendricity response following agonist activation of the MC1R receptor by NDP-MSH peptide, was markedly enhanced in WT melanocytes in comparison to RHC strains. Analysis of mRNA expression and protein levels of the major pigmentation markers following NDP-MSH treatment distinguished the enzyme dopachrome tautomerase as preferentially upregulated in cocultures of WT strains, with negligible or a much reduced response in melanocytes with RHC variant alleles. These results highlight the use of the coculture system in determining fundamental differences in the physiology of melanocytes expressing RHC MC1R receptors and those of WT genotype, which are likely to contribute to the increased skin cancer risk for individuals that carry these variants.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 06/2008; 215(2):344-55. · 4.22 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Variant alleles of the human MC1R gene are strongly associated with red hair color, fair skin and poor tanning ability (RHC-trait). Recently, we demonstrated that melanocytes harboring RHC-associated alleles have markedly reduced surface expression and/or impaired G-protein coupling of the corresponding receptor protein. The consequences of such a deficit on MC1R-mediated signaling pathways have now been quantitatively evaluated utilizing strains of human primary melanocytes homozygous for RHC-associated variant alleles and comparing responses to wild-type strains. The ability of melanocortin peptides to increase transcription of cAMP-dependent pigmentation genes, including MITF and SLC45A2, was abrogated in melanocytes with RHC-associated variant alleles, an effect that may contribute to the RHC phenotype. Activation of the c-Fos transcription factor gene was also severely compromised, a finding of potential relevance for non-pigmentary roles of MC1R. We also confirmed p38 signaling as an MC1R-regulated pathway and identified a large synergistic interaction between UV irradiation and MC1R stimulation for the activation of p38. This synergism was impaired in melanocytes expressing RHC variants of MC1R which may be relevant for the poor tanning ability associated with individuals possessing these alleles.
    Peptides 01/2008; 28(12):2387-96. · 2.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Donald W Roberts, Richard A Newton, Richard A Sturm
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: MC1R, melanocortin-1 receptor; MC2R, melanocortin-2 receptor
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 11/2007; 127(10):2472-3. · 6.19 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Upregulation of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) expression has been proposed to mediate melanogenesis stimulated by cAMP, whereas downregulation of MITF has been suggested to underlie the depigmentary effects of resveratrol, a promising chemotherapeutic found in red wine. We have assessed the contribution of MITF to pigmentation regulation by treating primary cultures of normal human melanocytes with the adenylate cyclase activator forskolin and/or resveratrol, then quantifying mRNA and protein levels for MITF, tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein-1, and dopachrome tautomerase (DCT). The inhibition of tyrosinase activity by resveratrol was not due to alterations in MITF, but instead was explained by both direct tyrosinase inhibition and a post-transcriptional effect that reduced the amount of fully processed tyrosinase. Glycosidase digestion revealed that the basis for the tyrosinase decrease was the retention of an immature form in the ER and subsequent loss of the mature, Golgi-processed enzyme. Elevation of intracellular cAMP by forskolin markedly increased protein levels for MITF, tyrosinase and DCT, however there was no concomitant increase in tyrosinase or DCT mRNA. This indicated that elevated levels of MITF were not sufficient to promote transcription of these melanogenic genes and that the increase in their protein abundance appeared to be predominantly mediated through post-transcriptional processing events.
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 10/2007; 127(9):2216-27. · 6.19 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To address the issue of melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) expression in non-melanocytic cells, we have quantitatively evaluated the relative expression levels of both MC1R mRNA and protein in a subset of different cell types. Using semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) at high cycle numbers, we detected MC1R mRNA in all cell types examined, including human embryonic kidney-293 (HEK 293) cells, a cell type widely used as a negative control in melanocortin expression studies. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed the highest levels of MC1R transcripts were in melanocytic cells, whereas the keratinocyte and fibroblast cell cultures examined had only a low level of expression, similar to that of HEK 293 cells. Antibody mediated detection of MC1R protein in membrane extracts demonstrated exogenous receptor in MC1R transfected cell lines, as well as endogenous MC1R in melanoma cells. However, radioligand binding procedures were required to detect MC1R protein of normal human melanocytes and no surface expression of MC1R was detected in any of the non-melanocytic cells examined. This was consistent with their low level of mRNA, and suggests that, if present, the levels of surface receptor are significantly lower than that in melanocytes. The capacity of such limited levels of MC1R protein to influence non-melanocytic skin cell biology would likely be severely compromised. Indeed, the MC1R agonist [NIe(4), D-Phe(7)] alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (NDP-MSH) was unable to elevate intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels in the keratinocyte and fibroblast cells examined, whereas a robust increase was elicited in melanocytes. Although there are a variety of cell types with detectable MC1R mRNA, the expression of physiologically significant levels of the receptor may be more restricted than the current literature indicates, and within epidermal tissue may be limited to the melanocyte.
    Pigment Cell Research 03/2006; 19(1):76-89. · 4.29 Impact Factor