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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1753; doi:10.3390/ijms17101753

Critical Analysis of the Melanogenic Pathway in Insects and Higher Animals

Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA 02125, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andrzej Slominski
Received: 16 September 2016 / Revised: 11 October 2016 / Accepted: 12 October 2016 / Published: 20 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Abstract

Animals synthesize melanin pigments for the coloration of their skin and use it for their protection from harmful solar radiation. Insects use melanins even more ingeniously than mammals and employ them for exoskeletal pigmentation, cuticular hardening, wound healing and innate immune responses. In this review, we discuss the biochemistry of melanogenesis process occurring in higher animals and insects. A special attention is given to number of aspects that are not previously brought to light: (1) the molecular mechanism of dopachrome conversion that leads to the production of two different dihydroxyindoles; (2) the role of catecholamine derivatives other than dopa in melanin production in animals; (3) the critical parts played by various biosynthetic enzymes associated with insect melanogenesis; and (4) the presence of a number of important gaps in both melanogenic and sclerotinogenic pathways. Additionally, importance of the melanogenic process in insect physiology especially in the sclerotization of their exoskeleton, wound healing reactions and innate immune responses is highlighted. The comparative biochemistry of melanization with sclerotization is also discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: melanogenesis; sclerotization; tyrosinase; phenoloxidase; laccase; dopachrome tautomerase; eumelanin; dopamine; dopa melanogenesis; sclerotization; tyrosinase; phenoloxidase; laccase; dopachrome tautomerase; eumelanin; dopamine; dopa
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sugumaran, M.; Barek, H. Critical Analysis of the Melanogenic Pathway in Insects and Higher Animals. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1753.

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