Pigment Cell Research

Published by Blackwell Publishing
Online ISSN: 1600-0749
Publications
Two-dimensional gel pattern of chick primary melanocyte cell cultures without TPA in the growth media which allows for pigment formation (A) and with TPA which inhibits melanogenesis (B). The arrows in Fig. 1A identify protein spots that were absent or down-regulated in the TPA treated cells and the asterisk identi fi es proteins that are present, or up-regulated in the presence of TPA. 
Gene Discovery Array. A comparison of two GDAs, a control (upper) and experimental (lower). Several spots are altered on the experimental array. Spots 1 and 2 show an increase in expression whereas spot 3 shows a decrease in expression. 
Article
The response of cells to extracellular signals usually requires altered expression of many genes, possibly including several distinct metabolic pathways. In some cases, only a subset of genes involved in such responses are known, which requires techniques to analyze changes in the expression of multiple genes, both known and unknown. Three techniques, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, differential display, and gene discovery arrays, provide opportunities for measuring changes in gene expression levels, as well as for identifying novel gene products.
 
Article
Generalized vitiligo is a common autoimmune disorder characterized by white patches of skin and overlying hair caused by loss of pigment-forming melanocytes from involved areas. Familial clustering of vitiligo is not uncommon, and patients and their relatives are at increased risk for a specific complex of other autoimmune diseases. Compared with sporadic vitiligo, familial vitiligo is characterized by earlier disease onset and greater risk and broader repertoire of autoimmunity, suggesting a stronger genetic component, and perhaps stronger associations with specific alleles. To determine whether the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) contributes to the familial clustering of vitiligo and vitiligo-associated autoimmune/autoinflammatory diseases, we performed case-control and family-based association analyses of HLA class II-DRB1 and -DQB1 alleles and haplotypes in affected probands and their parents from 76 European-American Caucasian families with familial vitiligo. Affected probands showed a significantly increased frequency of DRB1*04-DQB1*0301 and a significantly decreased frequency of DRB1*15-DQB1*0602 compared with a large sample of reference chromosomes. Family-based association analyses confirmed these results. Probands with DRB1*04-DQB1*0301 developed vitiligo an average of 13.32 yr earlier than probands with DRB1*15-DQB1*0602. Overall, our results indicate that specific MHC-linked genetic variation contributes to risk of familial vitiligo, although HLA does not completely explain familial clustering of vitiligo-associated autoimmune/autoinflammatory diseases.
 
Article
Among the various melanin-producing systems, the ink gland of the cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) has traditionally been regarded as a most convenient model system for the studies of melanogenesis. The ink gland is a highly specialized organ with immature cells in the inner portion, from where the cells gradually mature, migrate towards the outer portion of the gland and become competent to produce melanin giving rise to particulate melanosomes. When cell maturation is complete, melanin is secreted into the lumen of the gland, accumulated into the ink sac and ejected on demand. Biochemical studies carried out over the past two decades have shown that the ink gland contains a variety of melanogenic enzymes, including tyrosinase, a peculiar dopachrome rearranging enzyme (which catalyses the rearrangement of dopachrome to 5,6-dihydroxyindole) and a peroxidase (presumably involved in the later stages of melanin biosynthesis). These enzymes are functionally interactive in close subcellular compartments of ink gland cells and appear to act in a concerted fashion during the process of melanogenesis in the mature portion of the gland. More recent studies have revealed that ink production and ejection are affected and modulated by the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-nitric oxide (NO)-cyclic GMP (cGMP) signalling pathway. Glutamate NMDA receptor and NO synthase, the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of NO, have been detected by biochemical and immunohistochemical techniques in immature ink gland cells. Stimulation of NMDA receptors caused a marked elevation of cGMP levels, activation of tyrosinase and increased melanin synthesis in the mature portion of the gland, via the NO-guanylyl cyclase interaction. This signalling is also present in different regions of the nervous system in Sepia and in certain neural pathways controlling contraction of the ink sac sphincters and wall muscle in the ejection mechanism. Overall, these and other findings allowed elaboration of an improved model of melanin formation in Sepia, which underscores the complex interplay of melanogenic enzymes and regulatory factors, highlighting both the similarities and the differences with melanogenesis in mammals.
 
Article
1,3,8-Trihydroxynaphthalene (1,3,8-THN) reductase is involved in the production of fungal dihydroxynaphthalene (DHN) melanin. We isolated and characterized THR1, a gene encoding 1,3,8-THN reductase, from the phytopathogenic fungus Bipolaris oryzae. Sequence analysis showed that THR1 encodes a putative protein of 267 amino acids having a molecular weight of 28.5 kDa and 68-98% sequence identity to other fungal 1,3,8-THN reductases. Targeted disruption of the THR1 gene showed that it is essential for melanin biosynthesis in B. oryzae. Northern blot analysis showed that THR1 transcripts are constitutively expressed during normal growth but are specifically enhanced by near-ultraviolet (NUV) radiation in a dose-dependent manner. These results indicate that THR1 expression is transcriptionally enhanced by NUV radiation in B. oryzae.
 
Article
Following the discovery of cysteinyldopas as the early intermediates in the biogenesis of pheomelanins, the typical red hair pigments, the reactivity of the biosynthetic precursors under biomimetic conditions was extensively investigated. As a result, the early stages of pheomelanogenesis were envisaged as involving oxidative cyclization of cysteinyldopas, mainly the 5-S-isomer, to 1,4-benzothiazine (BTZ) intermediates which undergo oxidative polymerization leading eventually to the pigments. In the last decade, several aspects of the chemistry and biosynthesis of pheomelanins were re-examined. In particular, (i) transient BTZ intermediates were identified by pulse radiolytic techniques and NMR analysis; (ii) the effect of reaction conditions and additives on the rearrangement vs. redox exchange reaction paths of such intermediates were investigated in detail; (iii) the mechanism of the oxidative polymerization of BTZs was characterized by the first isolation of oligomer species, and (iv) the pigment eventually resulting from oxidation of 5-S-cysteinyldopa (CD) was directly analyzed by spectroscopic and chemical methodologies in comparison with pheomelanins isolated from human hair. These advances led eventually to an integrated picture of the biogenetic route highlighting the intervention of various chemical and enzymatic factors which affect the kinetics of the different steps and the nature of the key benzothiazine precursors. A likely biogenetic route was also postulated for the delta2,2'-bi(2H-1,4-benzothiazine) pigments, termed trichochromes, whose origin had remained an open issue since their first isolation from red human hair and avian feathers. Finally, a more detailed description of the structure of pheomelanin pigments in terms of the monomer units, their mode of linking, and postsynthetic modifications was gained.
 
Article
The successful application of boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) for melanoma depends on the following points, (1) high accumulation of 10B in target melanoma cells (approcimately 20 ppm) and (2) high tumor/normal tissue10B ratio, theoretically greater than 5.
 
Article
There are only a few reports on the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of thermal neutrons and 10B(n,alpha)7Li reactions either in vitro or in vivo. The data in this paper summarize almost all previously published in vitro data. Because only a few reactors are available for biomedical purposes, it is difficult to make a comparison of data from experiments using the same kind of radiation, and also to make a comparison of data from experiments using the different kinds of radiations. However, it is indispensable for boron neutron capture therapy to make a radiobiological analysis. More intensive study, including repair process and oxygen effect, is necessary for establishing the fundamental basis of the clinical application of boron neutron capture therapy.
 
Article
An experimental study of the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of thermal neutron capture therapy (TNCT) for melanoma cell inactivation using 10B1-paraboronophenylalanine (10B1-BPA) was carried out to demonstrate a high therapeutic effect of TNCT, compared with that of fast neutron. Cells preincubated with or without 10B1-BPA at a concentration of 50 micrograms/ml for 20 h were irradiated with 60Co gamma-ray, fast neutron or thermal neutron. The absorbed dose of the cells from thermal neutron was calculated by Kobayashi's model. The D0 value of fast neutron was 1.07 Gy, and the D0S of thermal neutron radiation with or without preincubation of the cells with 10B1-BPA were 0.46 Gy or 0.67 Gy, respectively. The RBEs of fast neutron, thermal neutron beams, and neutron capture therapy relative to 60Co gamma-ray were calculated as 2.78, 4.18, and 6.15 at 0.1 surviving fraction, respectively. These results indicate radiologically that thermal neutron capture therapy using 10B1-BPA is an excellent radiation therapy for malignant melanoma.
 
Article
We previously established methods which have enabled us to target a sufficient number of 10B atoms on human melanoma cells to destroy them by thermal neutron irradiation. Monoclonal antibodies were here used as vector of 10B atoms on the target cell. Thermal neutrons require at least 10(9) 10B atoms to destroy the cell. In order to accumulate an adequate number of 10B atoms on target cells, our first approach was to make an effective compound that contains 12 atoms of 10B in a molecule. The second step was to conjugate the compound with an avidin molecule (10B12-avidin). One molecule of the 10B12-avidin carries about 30 atoms of 10B. This 10B12-avidin can be specifically targeted on human melanoma cells by biotinated monoclonal antibodies specific for the cells. Furthermore, the number of 10B atoms on target cells can be augmented by a hapten-antihapten monoclonal antibody system. The cultured human melanoma cells treated with these methods were damaged by thermal neutron irradiation. This is the first study that indicates thermal neutrons do injure target cells boronated by monoclonal antibodies.
 
Article
Human melanoma regression by single thermal neutron capture therapy (NCT) using melanoma-seeking 10B compounds has been achieved. Since 1972, the aim of my team has been to synthesize tumor-seeking 10B-compounds possessing selective affinity for specific metabolic activity of the target cancer cells. Once the melanoma takes up these 10B compounds, thermal neutrons, which cause insignificant cell damage, are easily absorbed by nonradioactive 10B, inducing the 10B(n, alpha)7Li reaction and releasing the high LET particles to 14 mu melanoma cell diameter, destroying the tumor without damaging surrounding tissue. Radiobiological and preclinical studies culminated in the first successful human NCT treatment, with no recurrence of the treated melanoma since July, 1987.
 
Article
Using Greene's melanoma transplanted into Syrian (golden) hamsters, we determined the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of thermal neutron capture therapy (TNCT) using 10B-paraboronophenylalanine (10B-BPA) in comparison with a 9-MeV electron beam. We also obtained the RBE of the 10B(n, alpha)7 Li reaction by calculation based on summed dose data from TNCT. Throughout this study, the Kyoto University Research Reactor was used as the source for thermal neutrons; the reactor was specially altered to attain a low contamination level both for gamma-rays and fast neutrons. 10B-BPA was administered 8 hours before thermal neutron irradiation to the hamsters with melanoma. The tumor was then irradiated at 5 MW for 90 minutes. The absorbed dose from this TNCT was calculated by the method of Fairchild and Goodman (Phys. Med. Biol. 1966; 2:15-30). The RBEs of the TNCT and the 10B(n, alpha)7 Li reaction obtained by the tumor growth delay time (TGDT) method were 2.22 and 2.51, respectively, at 10.5 days of TGDT. These RBE values varied with TGDT and the absorbed dose. The RBE value of TNCT had a peak at 7.0 days of TGDT; that of the 10B(n, alpha)7Li reaction was higher at a low absorbed dose level and lower at a high absorbed dose level.
 
Article
Mouse B16 melanoma allografts in nude mice were successfully treated by thermal neutron irradiation after IP injection of 10B-paraboronophenylalanine hydrochloride. The tumor growth was significantly suppressed for 4 weeks after irradiation, compared with animals given neutron irradiation alone. Tumor-bearing nude mice were shown to be useful for evaluating the treatment for melanoma.
 
Article
In vivo, melanocytes were detected in epidermis from human tissue of 6.5 weeks estimated gestinational age (EGA) and older. We have successfully established melanocyte monocultures from tissue of 9 to 10 weeks EGA. To our knowledge, this is the first report on physiology of human foetal melanocytes in monoculture. In culture, such melanocytes retained foetal characteristics. Proliferation rates noted were markedly higher (approximately 2.7-fold) when compared to those in cultures of neonatal melanocytes. Moreover, when analyzing cellular phenotypes by markers for cells of the melanocytic lineage, foetal cells isolated from tissue of 9 weeks EGA reproducibly showed expression of the high molecular weight (HMW) antigen and c-kit to an extent intermediate to that found in neonatal melanocytes and M14 melanoma cells. Such differential expression was not observed if cells were isolated from tissue of 10 weeks EGA, indicating that the foetal environment provides essential differentiation stimuli during the 10th week of gestation. Moreover, these results are supportive of the theory that malignant transformation involves a process of dedifferentiation. In all, human foetal melanocyte culture provides a useful model to investigate pigment cell differentiation.
 
Article
A full-length cDNA clone encoding a 115-kDa melanosomal matrix protein (MMP115) was isolated from a cDNA library constructed from poly(A)+ RNA of the chicken pigmented epithelial cells. Sequence analysis showed that the cDNA encoded a polypeptide of 762 amino acids, including a hydrophobic signal peptide. There are no membrane-spanning regions, but there are five N-linked glycosylation signals. A cysteine- and histidine-rich domain is present near the C-terminus. A sequence of 24 amino acids is repeated three times in the polypeptide. A database search for homologies yielded no sequence similarities in other proteins. A plasmid containing the full-length cDNA was transferred into mouse cell lines by transfection. The transfected cells produced a protein that had the same size, 115 kDa, as the mature MMP115. When B16 mouse melanoma cells were transfected, the chicken MMP115 was expressed in the melanosomes. The presence of a specific sorting signal was suggested for localization of melanosomal proteins. Southern blot analysis has revealed that the homologues of the chicken MMP115 gene are found in many vertebrate genomes.
 
Article
Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is a transcription factor with a basic-helix-loop-helix-leucine zipper (bHLHZip) structure. Mutations of the MITF gene cause a variety of phenotypes, most notably in pigmented cells, in several species. In humans, haploinsufficiency of MITF causes Waardenburg syndrome type 2, while a dominant-negative mutation causes Tietz syndrome. Four isoforms have been cloned so far: MITF-M is the most abundant and is expressed in neural-crest-derived melanocytes; MITF-A is expressed in various cultured cells including retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and enriched in RPE of embryonal and developing eyes; MITF-H are expressed in many types of cultured cells and in the heart tissue; MITF-C is expressed in many types of cultured cells, but not in melanocytes. Many growth factor signaling pathways have been implicated for regulation of MITF at both protein and promoter levels. Most notably, Steel factor/c-Kit signaling pathway was linked to phosphorylation of MITF at Ser73 and Ser409 through activation of MAP kinase and RSK-1, respectively. Phosphorylation of MITF is also conducted at Ser298 through GSK3beta, although the signaling pathway for this event still remains to be elucidated. IGF-1 and HGF/SF pathways may merge with the c-Kit signaling pathway. WNT and MSH signaling pathways regulate MITF positively at the promoter level. Endothelins may regulate MITF at the protein and promoter levels. MITF is involved in the differentiation, growth and survival of pigment cells, employing a number of signaling pathways.
 
Article
In this study, we have analyzed the melanogenic potential of Schwann cells using in vitro cell cultures of embryonic quail peripheral nerves. It is shown that in Schwann cells, two factors, 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13 acetate (TPA) and endothelin 3, trigger a differentiation pathway toward melanocytes, and that Steel factor has no effect on these cells unless treated simultaneously with TPA. In these cultures, TPA induces the expression of c-kit, whereas Steel factor enhances the development of melanocytes. In the assay system we employed, neither neuronal nor catecholaminergic phenotypes were obtained, regardless of various combinations of related factors added to the culture medium. These data support our previous observations indicating the existence of bipotent progenitors that are capable of differentiating into Schwann cells or into melanocytes, and the regulatory role of endothelin 3 on those precursors, as revealed by the clonal culture of neural crest cells.
 
PMA treatment up-regulates TBX3 protein and mRNA levels in MRC-5 and PNT1A cells (A) PMA up-regulates TBX3 protein levels. MRC-5 (left panel) and PNT1A (right panel) cells were treated with either vehicle (control) or PMA (100 nM) for the indicated times. Whole cell lysates were harvested and proteins were separated by SDS/PAGE (8 % gel) and analysed by Western blotting with antibodies to TBX3. p38 was detected as a loading control. (B) PMA up-regulates TBX3 mRNA levels. The same cell lines were treated with PMA as above and total RNA was extracted at the times indicated. qRT-PCR was performed on reverse-transcribed RNA using primers specific to TBX3, and mRNA levels were normalized to GAPDH.
PMA-induced expression of TBX3 is via the PKC pathway (A) PNT1A cells were pretreated with vehicle (control) or 20 μM PKC inhibitor (GF109203X) for 2 h and then treated with PMA (100 nM) for 4 h (left panel) or EGF (50 ng/ml) for 1 h (right panel). Total RNA was isolated and qRT-PCR was performed on reverse-transcribed RNA using primers specific to TBX3, and mRNA levels were normalized to GAPDH. (B) PNT1A cells were pretreated with vehicle (control) or 20 μM PKC inhibitor (GF109203X) or 50 μM curcumin for 2 h followed by PMA (100 nM) for 4 h. Whole lysates were harvested and proteins were separated by SDS/PAGE (8 % gel) and analysed by Western blotting with antibodies to TBX3. p38 was detected as a loading control.
PMA-induced TBX3 expression is mediated by AP-1 components (A and B) PMA treatment of PNT1A and MRC-5 cells induces AP-1 family members. MRC-5 (left panel) and PNT1A (right panel) cells were treated with either vehicle (control) or PMA (100 nM) for the indicated times. Whole cell lysates were harvested and proteins were separated by SDS/PAGE (12 % gels) and analysed by Western blotting with antibodies to TBX3, JunB, c-Jun or c-Fos. p38 was detected as a loading control. The results for TBX3 are the same as those shown in Figure 1(A). (C) PMA-induced TBX3 mRNA expression is mediated by AP-1. The CaSki parental cell line and two inducible TAM67-CaSki cell lines were pretreated for 48 h with vehicle (control) or 2 μg/ml doxycycline (to induce TAM67) and then treated with PMA (100 nM) for 4 h. Total RNA was isolated and qRT-PCR was performed on reverse-transcribed RNA using primers specific to TBX3, and mRNA levels were normalized to GAPDH. (D) PMA-induced TBX3 protein expression is mediated by AP-1. Whole cell extracts from cells treated above were separated by SDS/PAGE (8 % gel) and analysed by Western blotting with antibodies to TBX3. p38 was detected as a loading control.
AP-1 components c-Jun/JunB bind and regulate the TBX3 promoter at a non-consensus TRE site (AP-371) (A) A schematic illustration of the region of the human TBX3 promoter showing the four putative TRE sites (boxes) labelled AP-1304, AP-371, AP-367 and AP-158. Arrows represent primer pairs used for PCR. (B) c-Jun/JunB binds the TBX3 promoter in the proximal region spanning TRE sites AP-371 and AP-367. PNT1A cells were treated with either vehicle (control) or PMA (100 nM) for 4 h and ChIP assays were performed with antibodies against c-Jun/JunB or IgG (negative control). Co-immunoprecipitated DNA was assayed by PCR with primer pairs indicated in (A). (C) Upper panel: oligonucleotide sequences of wild-type and mutated TRE sites used for gel-shift analysis. Lower panel: gel-shift assay with 32 P-labelled WT probe either without protein (lane 1) or in the presence of PMA-treated PNT1A nuclear extracts (lanes 2-8). Binding reactions were incubated in the presence of unlabelled 100-molar excess of WT (lane 3), AP-371 Mut (lane 4), AP-367 Mut (lane 5) or AP-371/367 Mut (lane 6). Specific complexes are indicated by arrows on the left. Supershifts were performed by incubating complexes with either anti-c-Jun (lane 7) or anti-JunB (lane 8) antibody (AB). Supershifted complexes are indicated as SS on the right. Non-specific complexes are labelled NS. (D) AP-371 mediates c-Jun and JunB activation of the TBX3 promoter. WT-or Mut-TBX3 promoter-luciferase (luc) reporter constructs (700 ng) were co-transfected into HT-1080 cells with the internal control pRL-CMV (10 ng) in the absence or presence of PMA (100 nM for 12 h) (white bar and grey bar respectively) or with either empty pCMV (200 ng) vector (white bar) or c-Jun or JunB (200 ng) expression vectors (black bars and striped bars respectively). Luciferase activity was measured 30 h post-transfection and normalized to Renilla luciferase activity. Fold-activation values were calculated by setting the promoter activity of untreated cells or cells transfected with empty vector to 1. Results showns are means + − S.D. from three independent experiments.
Article
In vitro studies have shown that the phorbol ester, 12-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA) induces neural crest cell differentiation into melanocytes, and stimulates proliferation and differentiation of normal melanocytes. As TPA is not a physiological agent, its action is clearly mimicking some in vivo pathway involved in these processes. An understanding of the effect of TPA on the expression of melanogenic genes will therefore provide valuable insight into the molecular mechanisms regulating melanocyte differentiation. In this study, we utilized primary cultures of neural crest cells and an immortalized melanocyte cell line (DMEL-2) which proliferates in the absence of TPA, to explore the effects of TPA on key melanogenic effectors. In neural crest cells, TPA was found to be necessary for both microphthalmia associated transcription factor (Mitf) up-regulation and for melanin synthesis. Using northern blots, we show that in DMEL-2 cells, TPA significantly increases the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) levels of the tyrosinase gene family (tyrosinase, Tyrp1 and Dct) and the expression of Mitf. Western blots demonstrate that in these TPA-treated cells there is a concomitant increase in Tyr, Tyrp1 and glycosylated Dct protein levels. Pax3, a known Mitf regulator, is unaltered by TPA treatment. This study demonstrates the utility of a novel cell line for investigating the long-term effects of TPA on melanogenesis and provides an understanding of how TPA enhances mouse melanocyte differentiation.
 
Article
The availability of NMR spectrometers operating in cross polarization/magic angle spinning (CP-MAS) has provided a powerful tool for the structural elucidation of insoluble materials. In this 13C NMR study of eumelanins we report the first direct evidence of the presence of different chemical functionalities in synthetic and natural eumelanins. These spectra contain useful information for the characterization of melanins from different sources.
 
Article
The Smyth line (SL) chicken is an animal model for human vitiligo, a common acquired depigmentary disorder affecting about 1-2% of people worldwide. The vitiligo-like depigmentation in SL chickens typically develops when the birds are between 6 and 14 weeks of age and may affect 70-95% of hatch mates. The development of SL vitiligo is considered to depend on two interacting components, namely an inherent melanocyte defect and an autoimmune reaction to melanocytes. Recently, a role for an environmental factor in the expression of vitiligo was suggested by the observation that only 10% of SL chicks imported from the University of Massachusetts (UM) and reared in isolation at biosecurity level 2 (BSL 2) at the University of Arkansas (UA) exhibited vitiligo. Following further assessment of environmental differences between UA and UM SL chickens, three environmental factors that may have influenced the expression of SL vitiligo were identified. Included were housing condition, status of Mycoplasma synoviae infection, and turkey herpesvirus (HVT) vaccination status. Studies were subsequently conducted at UA and UM to assess the role of these environmental factors in the expression of SL vitiligo. M. synoviae infection was not found necessary for vitiligo expression in SL chickens. However, HVT emerged as a strong candidate for an important environmental factor in SL vitiligo. The connection between HVT and SL vitiligo was confirmed for both BSL 2 and conventional housing. Therefore, the observations reported here suggest a strong causative link between HVT infection and SL vitiligo.
 
Article
Melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) is a highly polymorphic gene. The variety of the variants is dependent on the ethnic background of the individual. In Caucasians, specific variants, such as Arg151Cys, Arg160Trp, and Asp294His, are strongly associated with red hair, skin cancer and pigmented lesions. In Asians, there is no report so far indicating an association such as that observed in Caucasians. Here, we performed an association study on melanogenic phenotypes in 245 Japanese individuals. We focused on freckles and solar lentigines as melanogenic phenotypes. The 92Met allele and the 163Arg allele were positively associated with freckles and severe solar lentigines; the 163Gln allele showed a negative association. Those subjects who were homozygous for both the 92Met and 163Arg alleles had a highly elevated risk of developing freckles (OR: 7.92; 95% CI: 1.52-39.6) and severe solar lentigines (OR: 4.08; 95% CI: 1.34-13.1). Our study is the first report to show a clear association of MC1R variants on melanogenic phenotypes in Asians and also indicates the importance of Arg163Gln. In vitro studies by other groups demonstrated that Val92Met impaired MC1R function but Arg163Gln did not. Based on these in vitro studies, we believe that the result we observed for Val92Met could be attributed to impaired MC1R function, while, for Arg163Gln, other factors, e.g. effect of other loci, need to be considered.
 
Article
The nature of the pigment formed by Vibrio cholerae and the characterization of its biosynthetic pathway is shown. This microorganism is able to synthesize melanin-like pigment when cultured in the presence of L-tyrosine. Other phenolic chemicals related to L-tyrosine do not lead to pigment production. The microorganism has no tyrosine hydroxylase activity, and the levels of dopa oxidase activity are very low, making the existence of a tyrosinase very unlikely. However, Vibrio cholerae contained transaminases that transforms L-tyrosine into p-hydroxyphenylpyruvate. Moreover, Vibrio cholerae is able to go further in the catabolic pathway, releasing a great amount of homogentisic acid. This acid can spontaneously be oxidized to its p-quinone form, which subsequently polymerizes leading to pigment formation. It is concluded that the pigment formed by Vibrio cholerae is not synthesized by the Raper-Mason pathway, but by a L-tyrosine catabolism pathway leading to homogentisic acid. Some simple properties of that melanin are compared to model eu- and pheomelanin, but no clear distinction could be stated, indicating the similarity between all these pigments.
 
Article
The 3beta-(2-diethylaminoethoxy)-androstenone HCl (U18666A), progesterone and several cationic amphiphilic drugs have been shown to alter the trafficking of a number of intracellular membrane proteins including CD63/Lamp-3, insulin growth factor 2/mannose 6-phosphate receptor (IGF2/MPR), and the Niemann-Pick C1 gene product (NPC1) as well as ganglioside GM1. We have examined the effects of these compounds on cultured melanocytes at concentrations that have been shown to effectively alter intracellular trafficking. Treatment of melanocytes with U18666A (2.5 micro M) or progesterone (15 micro M) for 96 h decreased melanin content an average of 67% as compared with control without lowering the total cellular tyrosinase activity. Steroidal alkaloids that preferentially act on the Sonic Hedgehog signaling pathway showed no related specificity in their ability to decrease pigmentation. In melanocytes treated with U18666A, tyrosinase accumulates in a compartment that contains both lysosome-associated membrane protein-1 (Lamp 1) and MPR, and stains with filipin, consistent with cholesterol-laden late endosomes/lysosomes. Our results suggest that tyrosinase, like the NPC1 gene product, traverses a U18666A-sensitive trafficking pathway.
 
Article
A method was developed to produce radiolabeled 3-hydroxy-L-kynurenine by injection of [14C]-L-tryptophan into pupae of the heliconid butterfly, Heliconius charitonia, which was converted into [14C]-3-hydroxy-L-kynurenine and deposited as a wing pigment. Extractions of 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-OHK) with 60% methanol from wings yielded in 14.4 μg per mg dry weight. In extracts from yellow wing areas, 3-OHK represented 100% of detectable amino acids. Resulting specific radioactivity of [14C]-3-OHK was between 0.05 and 0.07 mCi/mmol when 0.5 μCi [14C]-tryptophan was injected into pupae 1 or 2 days before emergence of the butterfly. Incorporation of [14C]-3-OHK into wing ommochromes was studied in nymphalid butterflies, Araschnia levana and Precis coenia. After injection into pupae [I4C]-3-OHK as well as [14C]-tryptophan were specifically incorporated into red and red-brown wing scales as shown by autoradiography. The same incorporation occurred in isolated wings after incubation in Grace's medium containing [14C]-3-OHK. In Araschnia levana, [14C]-3-OHK offered to left wing pairs was incorporated into dihydroxanthommatin six times more effectively than [14C]-tryptophan offered to right wing pairs from the same specimen. Therefore, 3-OHK seems to be the ultimate precursor of wing ommatins.
 
Article
The rationale of boron (10B) neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is based on the high thermal neutron capture cross section of 10B and the limited maximum range (about one cell diameter) of the high LET fission products of the boron neutron capture (NC) reaction. The resulting radiochemical damage is confined to the cell containing the BNC reaction. Although other nuclides have higher thermal neutron capture cross sections than 10B, NC by such nuclides results in the emission of highly penetrating gamma rays. However, gadolinium-157 (157Gd) n-gamma reaction is also accompanied by some internal conversion and, by implication, Auger electron emission. Irradiation of Gd3+-DNA complexes with thermal neutrons results in the induction of DNA double-strand (ds) breaks, but the effect is largely abrogated in the presence of EDTA. Thus, by analogy with the effects of decay of Auger electron-emitting isotopes such as 125I, the Gd NC event must take place in the close proximity of DNA in order to induce a DNA ds break. It is proposed that 157Gd-DNA ligands therefore have potential in NCT. The thermal neutron capture cross section of 157Gd, a nonradioactive isotope, is more than 50 times that of 10B.
 
Article
It is well established that endothelin-1 (ET-1) plays a role in differentiation and proliferation in a variety of cells such as fibroblasts and human melanoma cells via a receptor-mediated mechanism. However, whether ET-1 modulates ion channel activity in these cell types is still unknown. In this report, we recorded the voltage-dependent outward K+ current in cultured B16 melanoma cells using the patch-clamp technique. Biophysical and pharmacological properties of the K+ current, and the effect of ET-1 on the K+ current were investigated. When cells were loaded with a Ca(2+)-chelating agent (EGTA or BAPTA), the K+ current amplitude gradually increased with time after establishment of the whole cell configuration. Replacement of Ca2+ with Co2+ in the extracellular medium caused no significant modulation of the K+ current amplitude. Addition of BaCl2 or quinidine to the extracellular solution reduced the K+ current amplitude, whereas the K+ current was insensitive to tetraethylammonium. ET-1 (10 nM) reversibly decreased the K+ current amplitude and accelerated the decay of the K+ current. The ET-1-induced inhibitory effect displayed no desensitization following repeated ET-1 application. Pretreatment with pertussis toxin (PTX) or perfusion of cells with the protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor H-7 abolished the inhibitory effect of ET-1 on the K+ current. We conclude that the outward K+ current recorded in murine B-16 melanoma cells represents a Ca(2+)-inactivated K+ current, and that the inhibitory effect of ET-1 on the K+ current may reveal a novel mechanism to control the differentiation and proliferation of melanoma cells.
 
Article
Cyclosporin A (CsA) is a widely used immunosuppressant. Reports on the effect of CsA on hyperpigmentation in patients appear inconsistent, and the effect of CsA on skin pigment cells (melanocytes) in vitro is unknown. We examined the effect of CsA on human melanocyte proliferation and melanogenesis in vitro. Melanocyte proliferation was dose-dependently inhibited by 0.1-10 microM CsA, with no effect on cell viability. Melanocytes incubated with 10 microM CsA for 6 days showed decreased pigmentation and tyrosinase activity. Western blot analysis using an anti-tyrosinase antibody revealed that CsA (0.1-10 microM) decreased tyrosinase protein levels in a dose-dependent manner. Northern blot analysis showed similar effects on tyrosinase mRNA levels. These effects of CsA on melanogenesis in vitro are not consistent with suggestions that systemic CsA therapy causes patient skin hyperpigmentation.
 
Article
High molecular weight forms of tyrosinase have been found to be expressed during spontaneous remelanization of the amelanotic B-16 melanoma cells in culture as well as in melanotic tumors formed from amelanotic melanoma cells grown in C57BL/6J mice. Overnight extraction of the crude melanosomal fractions from such tumors and cultured melanoma cells reveal the presence of an additional DOPA-MBTH positive band well below the stacking gel. This band has been found to be alpha-PEP7 (antibody specific for tyrosinase) positive and alpha-PEP1 (antibody specific for TRP-1) negative on Western blot analysis. Heat treatment at 60 degrees C for 60 min results in the loss of this band and considerable loss of activity of the melanosomal extract. Trypsin treatment of these melanosomal extracts resulted in a minor change in the mobility of the high molecular weight band. SDS-PAGE under reduced conditions followed by Western blotting revealed that the high molecular weight band was lost and not detected by alpha-PEP7 or alpha-PEP1. These findings indicate that high molecular weight, heat sensitive and trypsin resistant forms of tyrosinase are transiently expressed in B-16 melanoma cells and tumors that are initiating remelanization following phenotypic drift towards the amelanotic state.
 
Article
The relationship between cell pigmentation and radiosensitivity was investigated in a cell model in which melanogenesis was suppressed by a glycosylation inhibitor. It was found that X-irradiation of melanotic B-16 melanoma cells and their amelanotic counterparts, obtained by glucosamine treatment, showed an inverse correlation between radiosensitivity and melanin contents. Since melanogenesis interruption by glucosamine does not affect the DNA repair capacity of nonpigmented cells, it is likely that intracellular melanins play a role in the relative resistance of pigmented cells to X-irradiation.
 
Article
The search for antimelanoma agents acting by terminal differentiation via the pigmentation pathway has so far been unsuccessful, in part because of tumor heterogeneity and loss of function of pigmentation genes. Some differentiation agents, however, have emerged as inhibitors of histone deacetylases (HDAC), with consequences for chromosome remodeling, cell cycle arrest and selective toxicity in cultured melanoma cells compared with normal melanocytes. Few effects have been found on pigmentation, except paradoxically the down-regulation of TRP-1. Of the many genes regulated by HDAC inhibitors, induction of p21(WAF1/Cip1) is the most consistent finding and is associated with G(1) or G(2) phase blocks. Some melanoma cell lines appear to lack an HDAC inhibitor-specific G(2) checkpoint and viability is thus compromised by dividing with inappropriately-modified chromatin. Most cultured melanoma cells undergo apoptosis following treatment with HDAC inhibitors, via a mitochondrial and caspase-dependent pathway. However, the molecular mechanism may vary with cell line and HDAC inhibitor class. Tumor selectivity cannot yet be attributed to specific types or levels of HDACs, nor has the possibility of acetylation of non-histone targets been excluded. Elucidation of these complexities may be rewarding, in terms of directing the multiple consequences of inhibiting histone deacetylation towards overcoming the therapeutic problems of melanoma heterogeneity and emergence of resistance. Success in the clinic may require combination with agents that synergize with the cell cycle blocking and pro-apoptotic action of HDAC inhibitors.
 
Article
The Pmel 17 gene is expressed preferentially in pigment cells. It has been mapped to human chromosome 12 pter-q21 and mouse chromosome 10, near the silver locus. The Pmel 17 gene contains an insertional mutation at its carboxyl terminus in the silver mouse, suggesting that the silver locus might correspond to the gene. In the current studies, we have isolated and characterized human Pmel 17 genomic clones and employed FISH mapping for a precise localization of this gene in the human chromosome. The FISH mapping placed the Pmel 17 gene at human chromosome 12 q12-q13. The human gene consists of nine exons and eight introns, and the entire coding region of the gene spans approximately 7.9 kb of the human chromosome 12. The putative functional domains, such as the signal sequence, histidine-rich, 26-amino acid repeats, cysteinerich, transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains, were encoded by separate exons. Cistranscription elements such as a TATA, a CAT and other potential elements for pigment cell-specific gene expression were found within 1100 base pairs of the 5' flanking region.
 
Article
The objective of this study was to image the surface structure of cultured human epidermal melanocytes using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Epidermis obtained from human foreskins was treated with 0.5% dispase. Cell suspensions of the epidermis were prepared and seeded in six-well plates, in which sheets of mica had been placed. Samples for AFM were fixed on mica and scanning AFM images were captured by contacting and tapping modes operated under normal atmospheric pressure and temperature. Human epidermal melanocytes exhibited rounded, oval, triangular or quadrangular perikarya from which eight to 10 thick dendrites arose. These dendrites first bifurcated near the soma and then divided profusely into daughter branches, which spread out in all directions. We observed string-like long thin projections, growth cones and shorter thicker projections, which arose from the dendritic shafts, in which groups of melanosomes were arrayed. In addition to such structures, the most striking feature was the presence of filopodia arising from the melanocyte dendrite tips and the melanocyte cell body, many of which contained melanosomes. The termini of dendrites formed unbranched terminal protrusions (approximately 1,500-2,000 nm wide) consisting of two to three melanosomes wrapped in an arc, with their filopodia extending outwards. The tips of these structures also appeared to be squeezed and finally pinched off by the melanocyte to form a pouch filled with numerous melanosomes. We conclude that secondary and tertiary branches and subordinate branches might take part in transferring melanosomes into keratinocytes in addition to the transfer through the tips of the dendritic shafts. The melanin granules were expelled by exocytosis.
 
Article
Oxysterols play a significant role in cholesterol homeostasis. 25-Hydroxycholesterol (25HC) in particular has been demonstrated to regulate cholesterol homeostasis via oxysterol-binding protein and oxysterol-related proteins, the sterol regulatory element binding protein, and the rate-limiting enzyme of cholesterol biosynthesis, hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase. We have examined the effect of 25HC on pigmentation of cultured murine melanocytes and demonstrated a decrease in pigmentation with an IC(50) of 0.34 microM and a significant diminution in levels of melanogenic protein tyrosinase. Pulse-chase studies of 25HC-treated cells demonstrated enhanced degradation of tyrosinase, the rate-limiting enzyme of melanin synthesis, following endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi maturation. Protein levels of GS28, a member of an ER/cis-Golgi SNARE protein complex, were also diminished in 25HC-treated melanocytes, however levels of the ER chaperone calnexin and the cis-Golgi matrix protein GM130 were unaffected. Effects of 25HC on tyrosinase were completely reversed by 4 alpha-allylcholestan-3 alpha-ol, a sterol identified by its ability to reverse effects of 25HC on cholesterol homeostasis. Finally, the addition of 25HC to lipid deficient serum inhibited correct processing of tyrosinase. We conclude that 25HC acts in the Golgi compartment to regulate pigmentation by a mechanism shared with cholesterol homeostasis.
 
Article
Pmel 17 cDNA clones, isolated from wild-type and si/si murine melanocytes, were sequenced and compared. A single nucleotide (A) insertion was found in the putative cytoplasmic tail of the si/si Pmel 17 cDNA clone. This insertion is predicted to alter the last 24 amino acids at the C-terminus and to extend the Pmel 17 protein by 12 residues. The mutation was confirmed by the sequence of the PCR-amplified genomic region including the mutation site. Silver Pmel 17 was not recognized by antibodies directed toward the C-terminal amino acids of wild-type Pmel 17, indicating a defect in this region. These results indicate that silver Pmel 17 protein has a major defect at the carboxyl terminus.
 
Article
The pigmentary system of the skin from adult specimens of the black alpine salamander Salamandra atra atra was investigated by light microscope, electron microscope, and biochemical studies. Results were compared with those obtained in previous study of the subspecies Salamandra atra aurorae. Unlike Salamandra atra aurorae, which presents epidermal xanthophores and iridophores, Salamandra atra atra is completely melanized, presenting only epidermal and dermal melanophores. The melanosomes in both the epidermis and the dermis appear to derive from a multivesicular premelanosome similar to that in the goldfish, and the epidermal melanosomes are smaller than those in the dermis. Premelanosomes with an internal lamellar matrix were not observed. The biochemical results have shown that in the ethanol extracts obtained from the skin in toto and from the melanosomes, pteridines and flavins are always present and are the same as those extracted from the black skin areas of Salamandra atra aurorae.
 
Article
Sox proteins are transcriptional regulators with a high-mobility-group domain as sequence-specific DNA-binding domain. For function, they generally require other transcription factors as partner proteins. Sox proteins furthermore affect DNA topology and may shape the conformation of enhancer-bound multiprotein complexes as architectural proteins. Recent studies suggest that Sox proteins are tightly regulated in their expression by many signalling pathways, and that their transcriptional activity is subject to post-translational modification and sequestration mechanisms. Sox proteins are thus ideally suited to perform their many different functions as transcriptional regulators throughout mammalian development. Their unique properties also cause Sox proteins to escape detection in many standard transcription assays. In melanocytes, studies have so far focused on the Sox10 protein which functions both during melanocyte specification and at later times in the melanocyte lineage. During specification, Sox10 activates the Mitf gene as the key regulator of melanocyte development. At later stages, it ensures cell-type specific expression of melanocyte genes such as Dopachrome tautomerase. Both activities require cooperation with transcriptional partner proteins such as Pax-3, CREB and eventually Mitf. If predictions can be made from other cell lineages, further functions of Sox proteins in melanocytes may still lie ahead.
 
Article
Pheomelanin is widely thought to be causally related to susceptibility to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation: epidemiological studies show that those with a higher ratio of pheomelanin to eumelanin in hair have higher rates of melanoma, and work in mouse and cell culture shows that pheomelanin generates excess free radicals after UVR exposure. By contrast, based on measurements of eumelanin and pheomelanin in human skin, before and following irradiation, we now report that both pheomelanin and eumelanin are positively related to skin colour, and by inference, inversely with cancer susceptibility. The ratio of melanin classes is similar in people with widely different cancer rates and UVR sensitivity. Although our numbers are small, our results extend previous work in man, and lead us to speculate that factors other than the amount of pheomelanin may be important in determining UVR susceptibility in persons with red hair.
 
Article
Mammalian pigmentation is controlled by the concerted action of Tyr, Tyrp1 and Dct producing eumelanin and/or pheomelanin in melanocytes. The ratio of these two pigments is determined by the agonist alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone and the antagonist Agouti protein acting on the Mc1r. Here we show that the Agouti gene is over-expressed in Normande breed compared with Prim'Holstein breed. The Normande cattle have a characteristic coat color phenotype with a variable presence of black (eumelanin) hair over a red/brown background. We have found a previously undescribed full-length L1-BT element inserted in the 5'-genomic sequence of the Agouti gene in Normande cattle which promotes the over-expression of alternative transcripts. The variable expression of the alternative transcript directed by the long interspersed nuclear element promoter may be the origin of the brindle coat color pattern of the Normande breed. This new bovine Agouti allele isolated in Normande breed has been named Abr. Finally, as ectopic over-expression of Agouti in Ay mice is responsible for the obesity syndrome, we discuss the possible consequences of Abr for meat and milk production in cattle.
 
Article
In this article, we review the current state of knowledge concerning the physical and chemical properties of the eumelanin pigment. We examine properties related to its photoprotective functionality, and draw the crucial link between fundamental molecular structure and observable macroscopic behaviour. Where necessary, we also briefly review certain aspects of the pheomelanin literature to draw relevant comparison. A full understanding of melanin function, and indeed its role in retarding or promoting the disease state, can only be obtained through a full mapping of key structure-property relationships in the main pigment types. We are engaged in such an endeavor for the case of eumelanin.
 
Number of progeny of the i 1 -Niigata variant with melanin pigmentation 
Frequent segments of Tol-1-tyr in the medaka genome. Based on the result of homology search of Tol-1-tyr by BLAST against the medaka whole genome shotgun data, the 15 types of partial segments of Tol-1-tyr frequently found in the medaka genome are shown here. Two hundred and sixty-five BLAST hits were composed of various combinations of these segments. Numbers in the rectangular box indicate the names of the segments. The copy numbers of the segments in the medaka genome are aligned on the left side. The start and the end positions of the segments in the Tol-1-tyr are shown on the right side.
Article
The medaka fish albino mutant, i(1) is one of the Tomita collection of medaka pigmentation mutants which exhibits a complete albino phenotype, because of inactivation of the tyrosinase gene due to insertion of a transposable element, Tol-1. Recently, mosaic black-pigmented i(1) medaka fish have arisen in one of our laboratory breeding populations. Their pigmented cells have been observed in all of the tissues, including the eye and skin, in which melanin is detectable in the wild type. In this study, we analyzed the tyrosinase gene of revertants and showed Tol-1 to have been precisely excised from the gene, suggesting a causal relationship. Mosaic patterns of pigmentation indicate spontaneous somatic excision of the element from the tyrosinase gene. To our knowledge, this is the first transposable element with somatic excision activity demonstrated phenotypically in vertebrates. The pattern of pigmentation in mosaic revertants indicates frequencies of melanin pigments to be consistent with the numbers of melanophores per unit area of body sites, such as the eyes, head and dorsal trunk.
 
Article
The molecular biology of metastatic potential in melanoma has been studied many times previously and changes in the expression of many genes have been linked to metastatic behaviour. What is lacking is a systematic characterization of the regulatory relationships between genes whose expression is related to metastatic potential. Such a characterization would produce a molecular taxonomy for melanoma which could feasibly be used to identify epigenetic mechanisms behind changes in metastatic behaviour. To achieve this we carried out three separate DNA microarray analyses on a total of 86 cultures of melanoma. Significantly, multiple testing correction revealed that previous reports describing correlations of gene expression with activating mutations in BRAF or NRAS were incorrect and that no gene expression patterns correlate with the mutation status of these MAPK pathway components. Instead, we identified three different sample cohorts (A, B and C) and found that these cohorts represent melanoma groups of differing metastatic potential. Cohorts A and B were susceptible to transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta)-mediated inhibition of proliferation and had low motility. Cohort C was resistant to TGFbeta and demonstrated high motility. Meta-analysis of the data against previous studies linking gene expression and phenotype confirmed that cohorts A and C represent transcription signatures of weakly and strongly metastatic melanomas, respectively. Gene expression co-regulation suggested that signalling via TGFbeta-type and Wnt/beta-catenin pathways underwent considerable change between cohorts. These results suggest a model for the transition from weakly to strongly metastatic melanomas in which TGFbeta-type signalling upregulates genes expressing vasculogenic/extracellular matrix remodelling factors and Wnt signal inhibitors, coinciding with a downregulation of genes downstream of Wnt signalling.
 
Article
Malignant transformation of melanocytes leads to melanoma, the most fatal form of skin cancer. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-induced DNA photoproducts play an important role in melanomagenesis. Cutaneous melanin content represents a major photoprotective mechanism against UVR-induced DNA damage, and generally correlates inversely with the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. Melanoma risk is also determined by susceptibility genes, one of which is the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene. Certain MC1R alleles are strongly associated with melanoma. We hereby present experimental evidence for the role of two melanoma risk factors, constitutive pigmentation, as assessed by total melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin contents, and MC1R genotype and function, in determining the induction and repair of DNA photoproducts in cultured human melanocytes after irradiation with increasing doses of UVR. We found that total melanin and eumelanin contents (MC and EC) correlated inversely with the extent of UVR-induced growth arrest, apoptosis and induction of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD), but not with hydrogen peroxide release in melanocytes expressing functional MC1R. In comparison, melanocytes with loss-of-function MC1R, regardless of their MC or EC, sustained more UVR-induced apoptosis and CPD, and exhibited reduced CPD repair. Therefore, MC, mainly EC, and MC1R function are independent determinants of UVR-induced DNA damage in melanocytes.
 
Article
An overview of agents causing hypopigmentation in human skin is presented. The review is organized to put forward groups of biological and chemical agents. Their mechanisms of action cover (i) tyrosinase inhibition, maturation and enhancement of its degradation; (ii) Mitf inhibition; (iii) downregulation of MC1R activity; (iv) interference with melanosome maturation and transfer; (v) melanocyte loss, desquamation and chemical peeling. Tyrosinase inhibition is the most common approach to achieve skin hypopigmentation as this enzyme catalyses the rate-limiting step of pigmentation. Despite the large number of tyrosinase inhibitors in vitro, only a few are able to induce effects in clinical trials. The gap between in-vitro and in-vivo studies suggests that innovative strategies are needed for validating their efficacy and safety. Successful treatments need the combination of two or more agents acting on different mechanisms to achieve a synergistic effect. In addition to tyrosinase inhibition, other parameters related to cytotoxicity, solubility, cutaneous absorption, penetration and stability of the agents should be considered. The screening test system is also very important as keratinocytes play an active role in modulating melanogenesis within melanocytes. Mammalian skin or at least keratinocytes/melanocytes co-cultures should be preferred rather than pure melanocyte cultures or soluble tyrosinase.
 
Article
The pigmentary system of skin from adult specimens of the amphibian urodele Salamandra atra aurorae was investigated by light microscope, electron microscope, and biochemical studies. Yellow (dorsum and head) and black (flank and belly) skin was tested. Three chromatophore types are present in yellow skin: xanthophores, iridophores, and melanophores. Xanthophores are located in the epidermis whereas iridophores and melanophores are found in the dermis. Xanthophores contain types I, II, and III pterinosomes. Some pterinosomes are very electron-dense. Black skin has a single type of chromatophore: the melanophores. Some melanophores are located in the epidermis. In contrast to the dermal melanophores, these present, in addition to typical melanosomes, organelles with different morphology and vesicles having a limiting membrane and containing little amorphous material. Both skin types present some pteridines and flavins, though they are qualitatively and quantitatively more abundant in yellow skin extracts.
 
Article
Microanalysis of eumelanin is based on the formation of pyrrole-2,3,5-tricarboxylic acid (PTCA) on permanganate oxidation followed by its HPLC determination. A problem in this method was that the oxidation gave concave, exponential curves when the amounts of PTCA formed were plotted against the amounts of sample oxidized. The problem has been mostly overcome by adding a homogenate of 5 mg of a mouse liver to the oxidation medium. Sepia melanin, C57BL black mouse hair, B16 mouse melanoma, and MM418 human melanoma cells were oxidized in the absence or presence of the liver homogenate. The yields of PTCA increased about 1.5-fold by adding the liver homogenate and the calibration curves became linear or almost linear. With the improved method the PTCA values from various types of samples can be reliably compared.
 
Article
Targeted radiotherapy with 211At-methylene blue (211At-MTB) is a systemic treatment selectively directed at melanoma due to a high affinity of MTB to melanin synthesized in the tumor cells. Since MTB forms a strong complex with melanin, it is an effective carrier for a number of radioisotopes to be addressed to the tumor deposits of any size including individually dispersed melanoma cells. Thus, appropriately radiolabeled MTB can be used for either diagnosis or therapy of the neoplasm. As predicted and found in animal experiments, 211At-MTB is most effective therapeutically. Histopathological investigations showed that the highly pigmented 211At-MTB-treated tumors were characterized initially by perivascular oedema and hydropic degeneration of tumor cells followed by gradual development of extensive areas of coagulative necrosis. The necrotic tumor areas contained microvessels occluded by thrombi and tended to undergo microfocal calcification. Although melanoma-bearing animals successfully treated with 211At-MTB did not reveal any adverse effects of the therapy, detailed toxicological studies were undertaken. No serious macro- or microscopic lesions were observed in normal organs of 211At-MTB treated mice. Only the relative number of small lymphocytes in the groin lymph nodes in a minority of animals was variably reduced, most often in conjunction with the treatment of highly, but not poorly, pigmented tumors.
 
Article
Mutations in the BRAF oncogene occur in the majority of melanomas, leading to the activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway and the transcription of downstream effectors. As BRAF and its effectors could be good melanoma therapy targets, defining the repertoire of genes that are differentially regulated because of BRAF mutational activation is an important objective. Towards this goal, we and others have attempted to determine whether a BRAF mutation-associated gene expression profile exists. Results have been mixed, with some groups reporting a BRAF-signature and another group not. Here we resolve this issue and confirm that while gene-by-gene correlations fail to reveal a specific gene(s) whose expression correlates with BRAF status, a BRAF signature can be distinguished by analysis of global expression patterns. Specifically, we have here applied support vector machine (SVM) analysis to Affymetrix microarray data from a panel of 63 melanoma cell lines. SVMs found a BRAF signature in training samples and predicted BRAF mutation status with high accuracy (AUC=0.840) in the remaining samples. We verified this is a generalized BRAF signature by repeating the analysis in three published microarray datasets, and again found that SVMs predicted BRAF mutation well (Philadelphia: AUC=0.788; Zurich: AUC=0.688; Mannheim: AUC=0.686). An ensemble of 300 SVMs trained on our data also predicted BRAF mutation status in two of the three published datasets (Philadelphia AUC=0.778; Zurich AUC=0.719; Mannheim AUC=0.564). Taken together, these data support the existence of a BRAF mutation-specific expression signature.
 
Top-cited authors
Shosuke Ito
  • Fujita Health University
Alain Taieb
  • University of Bordeaux
Mauro Picardo
  • Istituto Dermatologico San Gallicano - Istituti Fisioterapici Ospitalieri
Kazumasa Wakamatsu
  • Institute for Melanin Chemistry、Fujita Health University
William Oetting
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities