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Special Issue "Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Biochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2016) | Viewed by 100413

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Manickam Sugumaran
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125, USA
Interests: enzymology; post translational modifications; aromatic metabolism; phenolic biochemistry; reactions of quinonoid compounds; invertebrate immunity; insect cuticular sclerotization; phenoloxidase; quinone isomerases; oxidative browning; melanin biosynthesis; catecholic antibiotics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Melanin is one of the most abundant phenolic biopolymers arising from the aromatic amino acid tyrosine and its derivatives. Melanins are heterogeneous in nature and ubiquitously found in microorganisms, fungi, plants, and animals. Plants and fungi make allomelanin while animals produce pheomelanin, eumelanin, and neuromelanin. This heterogeneity confers different physiological functions: In animals, melanin pigments offer the skin, hair, eye and coat color. In arthropods, they participate in defense reactions and innate immunity. Similarly, fungi and plants produce melanin in response to invasion and environmental stress. The yellow to red pheomelanin pigment found in animals is formed by the oxidative polymerization of cysteinyldopa derivatives produced by the condensation of tyrosinase-generated dopaquinone with the amino acid cysteine. The brown to black eumelanin pigment is generated by the oxidative polymerization of dihydroxyindoles formed from the oxidative cyclization of dopa, dopamine, and related compounds. Neuromelanin found in the animal brain tissue is produced by the oxidative polymerization of dopamine derivatives.

Due to their wide distribution and importance in many physiological processes, studies on the biosynthesis and the structure of melanins have been thoroughly examined by numerous research groups throughout the world for many decades.  Following the pioneering work of Raper and Mason, who initially established a general scheme of reactions leading to biosynthesis of melanin, several important contributions have been made in this field. In this Special Issue, research papers and authoritative review articles covering the progress made in all aspects of the biochemistry of melanin will be included. In addition, articles related to the reactivities of all intermediates and their biochemistry will be covered.

Prof. Dr. Manickam Sugumaran
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Melanogenesis
  • Skin pigment
  • Phenoloxidase
  • Tyrosinase
  • Dopachrome isomerase
  • Dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylate oxidase
  • Dopa
  • Dopamine
  • Dopachrome
  • 5,6-dihydroxyindole
  • 5,6-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid
  • reactivity of quinones
  • quinone methide reactions
  • allomelanin
  • pheomelanin
  • eumelanin
  • neuromelanin

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Research

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Article
Gomisin N Inhibits Melanogenesis through Regulating the PI3K/Akt and MAPK/ERK Signaling Pathways in Melanocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18020471 - 22 Feb 2017
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 4851
Abstract
Gomisin N, one of the lignan compounds found in Schisandra chinensis has been shown to possess anti-oxidative, anti-tumorigenic, and anti-inflammatory activities in various studies. Here we report, for the first time, the anti-melenogenic efficacy of Gomisin N in mammalian cells as well as [...] Read more.
Gomisin N, one of the lignan compounds found in Schisandra chinensis has been shown to possess anti-oxidative, anti-tumorigenic, and anti-inflammatory activities in various studies. Here we report, for the first time, the anti-melenogenic efficacy of Gomisin N in mammalian cells as well as in zebrafish embryos. Gomisin N significantly reduced the melanin content without cellular toxicity. Although it was not capable of modulating the catalytic activity of mushroom tyrosinase in vitro, Gomisin N downregulated the expression levels of key proteins that function in melanogenesis. Gomisin N downregulated melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), adenylyl cyclase 2, microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein-1 (TRP-1), and tyrosinase-related protein-2 (TRP-2). In addition, Gomisin N-treated Melan-A cells exhibited increased p-Akt and p-ERK levels, which implies that the activation of the PI3K/Akt and MAPK/ERK pathways may function to inhibit melanogenesis. We also validated that Gomisin N reduced melanin production by repressing the expression of MITF, tyrosinase, TRP-1, and TRP-2 in mouse and human cells as well as in developing zebrafish embryos. Collectively, we conclude that Gomisin N inhibits melanin synthesis by repressing the expression of MITF and melanogenic enzymes, probably through modulating the PI3K/Akt and MAPK/ERK pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Article
Effects of Ganodermanondiol, a New Melanogenesis Inhibitor from the Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(11), 1798; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17111798 - 27 Oct 2016
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 5016
Abstract
Ganoderma lucidum, a species of the Basidiomycetes class, has been attracting international attention owing to its wide variety of biological activities and great potential as an ingredient in skin care cosmetics including “skin-whitening” products. However, there is little information available on its [...] Read more.
Ganoderma lucidum, a species of the Basidiomycetes class, has been attracting international attention owing to its wide variety of biological activities and great potential as an ingredient in skin care cosmetics including “skin-whitening” products. However, there is little information available on its inhibitory effect against tyrosinase activity. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to investigate the chemical composition of G. lucidum and its inhibitory effects on melanogenesis. We isolated the active compound from G. lucidum using ethanol extraction and ethyl acetate fractionation. In addition, we assayed its inhibitory effects on tyrosinase activity and melanin biosynthesis in B16F10 melanoma cells. In this study, we identified a bioactive compound, ganodermanondiol, which inhibits the activity and expression of cellular tyrosinase and the expression of tyrosinase-related protein-1 (TRP-1), TRP-2, and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), thereby decreasing melanin production. Furthermore, ganodermanondiol also affected the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade and cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent signaling pathway, which are involved in the melanogenesis of B16F10 melanoma cells. The finding that ganodermanondiol from G. lucidum exerts an inhibitory effect on tyrosinase will contribute to the use of this mushroom in the preparation of skin care products in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Article
Ocular Albinism Type 1 Regulates Melanogenesis in Mouse Melanocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1596; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17101596 - 27 Sep 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4146
Abstract
To investigate whether ocular albinism type 1 (OA1) is differentially expressed in the skin of mice with different coat colors and to determine its correlation with coat color establishment in mouse, the expression patterns and tissue distribution characterization of OA1 in [...] Read more.
To investigate whether ocular albinism type 1 (OA1) is differentially expressed in the skin of mice with different coat colors and to determine its correlation with coat color establishment in mouse, the expression patterns and tissue distribution characterization of OA1 in the skin of mice with different coat colors were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR), immunofluorescence staining and Western blot. The qRT-PCR analysis revealed that OA1 mRNA was expressed in all mice skin samples tested, with the highest expression level in brown skin, a moderate expression level in black skin and the lowest expression level in gray skin. Positive OA1 protein bands were also detected in all skin samples by Western blot analysis. The relative expression levels of OA1 protein in both black and brown skin were significantly higher than that in gray skin, but there was no significant difference between black and brown mice. Immunofluorescence assays revealed that OA1 was mainly expressed in the hair follicle matrix, the inner and outer root sheath in the skin tissues with different coat colors. To get further insight into the important role of OA1 in the melanocytes’ pigmentation, we transfected the OA1 into mouse melanocytes and then detected the relative expression levels of pigmentation-related gene. Simultaneously, we tested the melanin content of melanocytes. As a result, the overexpression of OA1 significantly increased the expression levels of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), tyrosinase (TYR), tyrosinase-related protein 1 (TRP1) and premelanosome protein (PMEL). However, the tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP2) level was attenuated. By contrast, the level of glycoprotein non-metastatic melanoma protein b (GPNMB) was unaffected by OA1 overexpression. Furthermore, we observed a significant increase in melanin content in mouse melanocyte transfected OA1. Therefore, we propose that OA1 may participate in the formation of coat color by regulating the level of MITF and the number, size, motility and maturation of melanosome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Article
Novel Anti-Melanogenesis Properties of Polydeoxyribonucleotide, a Popular Wound Healing Booster
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1448; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091448 - 01 Sep 2016
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 5055
Abstract
Polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN), a deoxyribonucleotide polymer, is popularly used for faster healing of cutaneous wounds and boosting of neocollagenesis of photoaged skin among current dermatologic practitioners. Some patients receiving PDRN injection treatment also reported improvement of photoaging-associated mottled pigmentation (PMP). To investigate the effect [...] Read more.
Polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN), a deoxyribonucleotide polymer, is popularly used for faster healing of cutaneous wounds and boosting of neocollagenesis of photoaged skin among current dermatologic practitioners. Some patients receiving PDRN injection treatment also reported improvement of photoaging-associated mottled pigmentation (PMP). To investigate the effect of PDRN on cutaneous melanogenesis, we examined the effect of PDRN and an available product (Placentex®) containing PDRN on melanogenesis using human melanocytes-keratinocytes cocultures and mouse melanocytes. Melanin content, tyrosinase activity, and levels of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), tyrosinase, and tyrosinase-related protein (TRP-1) were determined. Intracellular signaling pathways were assessed by Western blotting. PDRN and Placentex® led to decreases in melanin content, tyrosinase activity, and MITF and TRP-1 expression with concomitant increases in phosphorylated forms of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) and AKT in mouse melanocytes. More importantly, both PDRN and Placentex® significantly suppressed the melanin content in human melanocyte–keratinocyte cocultures. Clinical evaluation of six female patients with facial hyperpigmentation after three sessions of intradermal PDRN injections using a 5-point scale revealed that PDRN led to more than noticeable improvements in hyperpigmented lesions. This is the first study to demonstrate that PDRN, which is known for its wound-healing properties, may have novel anti-melanogenesis and potential skin whitening properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Article
A Novel Role of Serotonin Receptor 2B Agonist as an Anti-Melanogenesis Agent
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 546; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040546 - 12 Apr 2016
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4543
Abstract
BW723C86, a serotonin receptor 2B agonist, has been investigated as a potential therapeutic for various conditions such as anxiety, hyperphagia and hypertension. However, the functional role of BW723C86 against melanogenesis remains unclear. In this study, we investigate the effect of serotonin receptor 2B [...] Read more.
BW723C86, a serotonin receptor 2B agonist, has been investigated as a potential therapeutic for various conditions such as anxiety, hyperphagia and hypertension. However, the functional role of BW723C86 against melanogenesis remains unclear. In this study, we investigate the effect of serotonin receptor 2B (5-HTR2B) agonist on melanogenesis and elucidate the mechanism involved. BW723C86 reduced melanin synthesis and intracellular tyrosinase activity in melan-A cells and normal human melanocytes. The expression of melanogenesis-related proteins (tyrosinase, TRP-1 and TRP-2) and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) in melan-A cells decreased after BW723C86 treatment. The promoter activity of MITF was also reduced by BW723C86 treatment. The reduced level of MITF was associated with inhibition of protein kinase A (PKA) and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) activation by BW723C86 treatment. These results suggest that the serotonin agonist BW723C86 could be a potential therapeutic agent for skin hyperpigmentation disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Article
Targeted Disruption of Melanin Biosynthesis Genes in the Human Pathogenic Fungus Lomentospora prolificans and Its Consequences for Pathogen Survival
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040444 - 24 Mar 2016
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3571
Abstract
The dematiaceous (melanised) fungus Lomentospora (Scedosporium) prolificans is a life-threatening opportunistic pathogen of immunocompromised humans, resistant to anti-fungal drugs. Melanin has been shown to protect human pathogenic fungi against antifungal drugs, oxidative killing and environmental stresses. To determine the protective role [...] Read more.
The dematiaceous (melanised) fungus Lomentospora (Scedosporium) prolificans is a life-threatening opportunistic pathogen of immunocompromised humans, resistant to anti-fungal drugs. Melanin has been shown to protect human pathogenic fungi against antifungal drugs, oxidative killing and environmental stresses. To determine the protective role of melanin in L. prolificans to oxidative killing (H2O2), UV radiation and the polyene anti-fungal drug amphotericin B, targeted gene disruption was used to generate mutants of the pathogen lacking the dihydroxynaphthalene (DHN)-melanin biosynthetic enzymes polyketide synthase (PKS1), tetrahydroxynapthalene reductase (4HNR) and scytalone dehydratase (SCD1). Infectious propagules (spores) of the wild-type strain 3.1 were black/brown, whereas spores of the PKS-deficient mutant ΔLppks1::hph were white. Complementation of the albino mutant ΔLppks1::hph restored the black-brown spore pigmentation, while the 4HNR-deficient mutant ΔLp4hnr::hph and SCD-deficient mutant ΔLpscd1::hph both produced orange-yellow spores. The mutants ΔLppks1::hph and ΔLp4hnr::hph showed significant reductions in spore survival following H2O2 treatment, while spores of ΔLpscd1::hph and the ΔLppks1::hph complemented strain ΔLppks1::hph:PKS showed spore survivals similar to strain 3.1. Spores of the mutants ΔLp4hnr::hph and ΔLpscd1::hph and complemented strain ΔLppks1::hph:PKS showed spore survivals similar to 3.1 following exposure to UV radiation, but survival of ΔLppks1::hph spores was significantly reduced compared to the wild-type strain. Strain 3.1 and mutants ΔLp4hnr::hph and ΔLppks1::hph:PKS were resistant to amphotericin B while, paradoxically, the PKS1- and SCD1-deficient mutants showed significant increases in growth in the presence of the antifungal drug. Taken together, these results show that while melanin plays a protective role in the survival of the pathogen to oxidative killing and UV radiation, melanin does not contribute to its resistance to amphotericin B. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Article
Melanocytes Affect Nodal Expression and Signaling in Melanoma Cells: A Lesson from Pediatric Large Congenital Melanocytic Nevi
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(3), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17030418 - 22 Mar 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3482
Abstract
Expression of Nodal, a Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-β) related growth factor, is associated with aggressive melanoma. Nodal expression in adult dysplastic nevi may predict the development of aggressive melanoma in some patients. A subset of pediatric patients diagnosed with giant or large congenital [...] Read more.
Expression of Nodal, a Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-β) related growth factor, is associated with aggressive melanoma. Nodal expression in adult dysplastic nevi may predict the development of aggressive melanoma in some patients. A subset of pediatric patients diagnosed with giant or large congenital melanocytic nevi (LCMN) has shown increased risk for development of melanoma. Here, we investigate whether Nodal expression can help identify the rare cases of LCMN that develop melanoma and shed light on why the majority of these patients do not. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining results show varying degree of Nodal expression in pediatric dysplastic nevi and LCMN. Moreover, median scores from Nodal IHC expression analysis were not significantly different between these two groups. Additionally, none of the LCMN patients in this study developed melanoma, regardless of Nodal IHC levels. Co-culture experiments revealed reduced tumor growth and lower levels of Nodal and its signaling molecules P-SMAD2 and P-ERK1/2 when melanoma cells were grown in vivo or in vitro with normal melanocytes. The same was observed in melanoma cells cultured with melanocyte conditioned media containing pigmented melanocyte derived melanosomes (MDM). Since MDM contain molecules capable of inactivating radical oxygen species, to investigate potential anti-oxidant effect of MDM on Nodal expression and signaling in melanoma, melanoma cells were treated with either N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), a component of the anti-oxidant glutathione or synthetic melanin, which in addition to providing pigmentation can also exert free radical scavenging activity. Melanoma cells treated with NAC or synthetic melanin showed reduced levels of Nodal, P-SMAD2 and P-ERK1/2 compared to untreated melanoma cells. Thus, the potential role for Nodal in melanoma development in LCMN is less evident than in adult dysplastic nevi possibly due to melanocyte cross-talk in LCMN capable of offsetting or delaying the pro-melanoma effects of Nodal via anti-oxidant effects of MDM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Article
Hinokitiol Inhibits Melanogenesis via AKT/mTOR Signaling in B16F10 Mouse Melanoma Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(2), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17020248 - 18 Feb 2016
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 5381
Abstract
H inokitiol purified from the heartwood of cupressaceous plants has had various biological functions of cell differentiation and growth. Hinokitiol has been demonstrated as having an important role in anti-inflammation and anti-bacteria effect, suggesting that it is potentially useful in therapies for hyperpigmentation. [...] Read more.
H inokitiol purified from the heartwood of cupressaceous plants has had various biological functions of cell differentiation and growth. Hinokitiol has been demonstrated as having an important role in anti-inflammation and anti-bacteria effect, suggesting that it is potentially useful in therapies for hyperpigmentation. Previously, hinokitiol inhibited the production of melanin by inhibiting tyrosinase activity. The autophagic signaling pathway can induce hypopigmentation. This study is warranted to investigate the mechanism of hinokitiol-induced hypopigmentation through autophagy in B16F10 melanoma cells. The melanin contents and expression of microthphalmia associated transcription factor (MITF) and tyrosinase were inhibited by treatment with hinokitiol. Moreover, the phosphorylation of the protein express levels of phospho-protein kinase B (P-AKT) and phospho-mammalian targets of rapamycin (P-mTOR) were reduced after hinokitiol treatment. In addition, the microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) -II and beclin 1 (autophagic markers) were increased after the B16F10 cell was treated with hinokitiol. Meanwhile, hinokitiol decreased cellular melanin contents in a dose-dependent manner. These findings establish that hinokitiol inhibited melanogenesis through the AKT/mTOR signaling pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Article
The Metabolic Fate of ortho-Quinones Derived from Catecholamine Metabolites
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(2), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17020164 - 27 Jan 2016
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3556
Abstract
ortho-Quinones are produced in vivo through the oxidation of catecholic substrates by enzymes such as tyrosinase or by transition metal ions. Neuromelanin, a dark pigment present in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus of the brain, is produced from dopamine (DA) and [...] Read more.
ortho-Quinones are produced in vivo through the oxidation of catecholic substrates by enzymes such as tyrosinase or by transition metal ions. Neuromelanin, a dark pigment present in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus of the brain, is produced from dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) via an interaction with cysteine, but it also incorporates their alcoholic and acidic metabolites. In this study we examined the metabolic fate of ortho-quinones derived from the catecholamine metabolites, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethanol (DOPE), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethylene glycol (DOPEG), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylmandelic acid (DOMA). The oxidation of catecholic substrates by mushroom tyrosinase was followed by UV-visible spectrophotometry. HPLC analysis after reduction with NaBH4 or ascorbic acid enabled measurement of the half-lives of ortho-quinones and the identification of their reaction products. Spectrophotometric examination showed that the ortho-quinones initially formed underwent extensive degradation at pH 6.8. HPLC analysis showed that DOPE-quinone and DOPEG-quinone degraded with half-lives of 15 and 30 min at pH 6.8, respectively, and >100 min at pH 5.3. The major product from DOPE-quinone was DOPEG which was produced through the addition of a water molecule to the quinone methide intermediate. DOPEG-quinone yielded a ketone, 2-oxo-DOPE, through the quinone methide intermediate. DOPAC-quinone and DOMA-quinone degraded immediately with decarboxylation of the ortho-quinone intermediates to form 3,4-dihydroxybenzylalcohol (DHBAlc) and 3,4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde (DHBAld), respectively. DHBAlc-quinone was converted to DHBAld with a half-life of 9 min, while DHBAld-quinone degraded rapidly with a half-life of 3 min. This study confirmed the fact that ortho-quinones from DOPE, DOPEG, DOPAC and DOMA are converted to quinone methide tautomers as common intermediates, through proton rearrangement or decarboxylation. The unstable quinone methides afford stable alcoholic or carbonyl products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Review

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Review
Critical Analysis of the Melanogenic Pathway in Insects and Higher Animals
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1753; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17101753 - 20 Oct 2016
Cited by 92 | Viewed by 5162
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Review
Reactivities of Quinone Methides versus o-Quinones in Catecholamine Metabolism and Eumelanin Biosynthesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1576; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091576 - 20 Sep 2016
Cited by 46 | Viewed by 6284
Abstract
Melanin is an important biopolymeric pigment produced in a vast majority of organisms. Tyrosine and its hydroxylated product, dopa, form the starting material for melanin biosynthesis. Earlier studies by Raper and Mason resulted in the identification of dopachrome and dihydroxyindoles as important intermediates [...] Read more.
Melanin is an important biopolymeric pigment produced in a vast majority of organisms. Tyrosine and its hydroxylated product, dopa, form the starting material for melanin biosynthesis. Earlier studies by Raper and Mason resulted in the identification of dopachrome and dihydroxyindoles as important intermediates and paved way for the establishment of well-known Raper–Mason pathway for the biogenesis of brown to black eumelanins. Tyrosinase catalyzes the oxidation of tyrosine as well as dopa to dopaquinone. Dopaquinone thus formed, undergoes intramolecular cyclization to form leucochrome, which is further oxidized to dopachrome. Dopachrome is either converted into 5,6-dihydroxyindole by decarboxylative aromatization or isomerized into 5,6-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid. Oxidative polymerization of these two dihydroxyindoles eventually produces eumelanin pigments via melanochrome. While the role of quinones in the biosynthetic pathway is very well acknowledged, that of isomeric quinone methides, however, remained marginalized. This review article summarizes the key role of quinone methides during the oxidative transformation of a vast array of catecholamine derivatives and brings out the importance of these transient reactive species during the melanogenic process. In addition, possible reactions of quinone methides at various stages of melanogenesis are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Review
PMEL Amyloid Fibril Formation: The Bright Steps of Pigmentation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1438; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091438 - 31 Aug 2016
Cited by 53 | Viewed by 4274
Abstract
In pigment cells, melanin synthesis takes place in specialized organelles, called melanosomes. The biogenesis and maturation of melanosomes is initiated by an unpigmented step that takes place prior to the initiation of melanin synthesis and leads to the formation of luminal fibrils deriving [...] Read more.
In pigment cells, melanin synthesis takes place in specialized organelles, called melanosomes. The biogenesis and maturation of melanosomes is initiated by an unpigmented step that takes place prior to the initiation of melanin synthesis and leads to the formation of luminal fibrils deriving from the pigment cell-specific pre-melanosomal protein (PMEL). In the lumen of melanosomes, PMEL fibrils optimize sequestration and condensation of the pigment melanin. Interestingly, PMEL fibrils have been described to adopt a typical amyloid-like structure. In contrast to pathological amyloids often associated with neurodegenerative diseases, PMEL fibrils represent an emergent category of physiological amyloids due to their beneficial cellular functions. The formation of PMEL fibrils within melanosomes is tightly regulated by diverse mechanisms, such as PMEL traffic, cleavage and sorting. These mechanisms revealed increasing analogies between the formation of physiological PMEL fibrils and pathological amyloid fibrils. In this review we summarize the known mechanisms of PMEL fibrillation and discuss how the recent understanding of physiological PMEL amyloid formation may help to shed light on processes involved in pathological amyloid formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Review
Signaling Pathways in Melanogenesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071144 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 399 | Viewed by 14064
Abstract
Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells found in skin, hair follicles, eyes, inner ear, bones, heart and brain of humans. They arise from pluripotent neural crest cells and differentiate in response to a complex network of interacting regulatory pathways. Melanins are pigment molecules that are [...] Read more.
Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells found in skin, hair follicles, eyes, inner ear, bones, heart and brain of humans. They arise from pluripotent neural crest cells and differentiate in response to a complex network of interacting regulatory pathways. Melanins are pigment molecules that are endogenously synthesized by melanocytes. The light absorption of melanin in skin and hair leads to photoreceptor shielding, thermoregulation, photoprotection, camouflage and display coloring. Melanins are also powerful cation chelators and may act as free radical sinks. Melanin formation is a product of complex biochemical events that starts from amino acid tyrosine and its metabolite, dopa. The types and amounts of melanin produced by melanocytes are determined genetically and are influenced by a variety of extrinsic and intrinsic factors such as hormonal changes, inflammation, age and exposure to UV light. These stimuli affect the different pathways in melanogenesis. In this review we will discuss the regulatory mechanisms involved in melanogenesis and explain how intrinsic and extrinsic factors regulate melanin production. We will also explain the regulatory roles of different proteins involved in melanogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Review
Heterogeneous Pathology of Melasma and Its Clinical Implications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 824; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060824 - 26 May 2016
Cited by 65 | Viewed by 9318
Abstract
Melasma is a commonly acquired hypermelanosis that affects sun-exposed areas of the skin, with frequent facial involvement. Its histologic manifestations are evident in the epidermis, extracellular matrix, and dermis. In addition to epidermal pigmentation, pathologic findings of melasma include extracellular matrix abnormality, especially [...] Read more.
Melasma is a commonly acquired hypermelanosis that affects sun-exposed areas of the skin, with frequent facial involvement. Its histologic manifestations are evident in the epidermis, extracellular matrix, and dermis. In addition to epidermal pigmentation, pathologic findings of melasma include extracellular matrix abnormality, especially solar elastosis. The disrupted basement membrane has been described in melasma with variable incidences. In the dermis, an increase in vascularity and an increase in the number of mast cells were observed, indicating that dermal factors have critical roles in the pathogenesis of melasma, despite the fact that melasma is characterized by epidermal hyperpigmentation. This review discusses such histologic characteristics of melasma, with consideration to their implications for melasma treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Review
“Fifty Shades” of Black and Red or How Carboxyl Groups Fine Tune Eumelanin and Pheomelanin Properties
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050746 - 17 May 2016
Cited by 67 | Viewed by 5576
Abstract
Recent advances in the chemistry of melanins have begun to disclose a number of important structure-property-function relationships of crucial relevance to the biological role of human pigments, including skin (photo) protection and UV-susceptibility. Even slight variations in the monomer composition of black eumelanins [...] Read more.
Recent advances in the chemistry of melanins have begun to disclose a number of important structure-property-function relationships of crucial relevance to the biological role of human pigments, including skin (photo) protection and UV-susceptibility. Even slight variations in the monomer composition of black eumelanins and red pheomelanins have been shown to determine significant differences in light absorption, antioxidant, paramagnetic and redox behavior, particle morphology, surface properties, metal chelation and resistance to photo-oxidative wear-and-tear. These variations are primarily governed by the extent of decarboxylation at critical branching points of the eumelanin and pheomelanin pathways, namely the rearrangement of dopachrome to 5,6-dihydroxyindole (DHI) and 5,6-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid (DHICA), and the rearrangement of 5-S-cysteinyldopa o-quinoneimine to 1,4-benzothiazine (BTZ) and its 3-carboxylic acid (BTZCA). In eumelanins, the DHICA-to-DHI ratio markedly affects the overall antioxidant and paramagnetic properties of the resulting pigments. In particular, a higher content in DHICA decreases visible light absorption and paramagnetic response relative to DHI-based melanins, but markedly enhances antioxidant properties. In pheomelanins, likewise, BTZCA-related units, prevalently formed in the presence of zinc ions, appear to confer pronounced visible and ultraviolet A (UVA) absorption features, accounting for light-dependent reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, whereas non-carboxylated benzothiazine intermediates seem to be more effective in inducing ROS production by redox cycling mechanisms in the dark. The possible biological and functional significance of carboxyl retention in the eumelanin and pheomelanin pathways is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Review
The Development of Sugar-Based Anti-Melanogenic Agents
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 583; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040583 - 16 Apr 2016
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3278
Abstract
The regulation of melanin production is important for managing skin darkness and hyperpigmentary disorders. Numerous anti-melanogenic agents that target tyrosinase activity/stability, melanosome maturation/transfer, or melanogenesis-related signaling pathways have been developed. As a rate-limiting enzyme in melanogenesis, tyrosinase has been the most attractive target, [...] Read more.
The regulation of melanin production is important for managing skin darkness and hyperpigmentary disorders. Numerous anti-melanogenic agents that target tyrosinase activity/stability, melanosome maturation/transfer, or melanogenesis-related signaling pathways have been developed. As a rate-limiting enzyme in melanogenesis, tyrosinase has been the most attractive target, but tyrosinase-targeted treatments still pose serious potential risks, indicating the necessity of developing lower-risk anti-melanogenic agents. Sugars are ubiquitous natural compounds found in humans and other organisms. Here, we review the recent advances in research on the roles of sugars and sugar-related agents in melanogenesis and in the development of sugar-based anti-melanogenic agents. The proposed mechanisms of action of these agents include: (a) (natural sugars) disturbing proper melanosome maturation by inducing osmotic stress and inhibiting the PI3 kinase pathway and (b) (sugar derivatives) inhibiting tyrosinase maturation by blocking N-glycosylation. Finally, we propose an alternative strategy for developing anti-melanogenic sugars that theoretically reduce melanosomal pH by inhibiting a sucrose transporter and reduce tyrosinase activity by inhibiting copper incorporation into an active site. These studies provide evidence of the utility of sugar-based anti-melanogenic agents in managing skin darkness and curing pigmentary disorders and suggest a future direction for the development of physiologically favorable anti-melanogenic agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Review
Bird Integumentary Melanins: Biosynthesis, Forms, Function and Evolution
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040520 - 08 Apr 2016
Cited by 66 | Viewed by 7066
Abstract
Melanins are the ubiquitous pigments distributed in nature. They are one of the main pigments responsible for colors in living cells. Birds are among the most diverse animals regarding melanin-based coloration, especially in the plumage, although they also pigment bare parts of the [...] Read more.
Melanins are the ubiquitous pigments distributed in nature. They are one of the main pigments responsible for colors in living cells. Birds are among the most diverse animals regarding melanin-based coloration, especially in the plumage, although they also pigment bare parts of the integument. This review is devoted to the main characteristics of bird melanins, including updated views of the formation and nature of melanin granules, whose interest has been raised in the last years for inferring the color of extinct birds and non-avian theropod dinosaurs using resistant fossil feathers. The molecular structure of the two main types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin, and the environmental and genetic factors that regulate avian melanogenesis are also presented, establishing the main relationship between them. Finally, the special functions of melanin in bird feathers are also discussed, emphasizing the aspects more closely related to these animals, such as honest signaling, and the factors that may drive the evolution of pheomelanin and pheomelanin-based color traits, an issue for which birds have been pioneer study models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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Review
Oncostatic-Cytoprotective Effect of Melatonin and Other Bioactive Molecules: A Common Target in Mitochondrial Respiration
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(3), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17030341 - 07 Mar 2016
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 4541
Abstract
For several years, oncostatic and antiproliferative properties, as well as thoses of cell death induction through 5-methoxy-N-acetiltryptamine or melatonin treatment, have been known. Paradoxically, its remarkable scavenger, cytoprotective and anti-apoptotic characteristics in neurodegeneration models, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease [...] Read more.
For several years, oncostatic and antiproliferative properties, as well as thoses of cell death induction through 5-methoxy-N-acetiltryptamine or melatonin treatment, have been known. Paradoxically, its remarkable scavenger, cytoprotective and anti-apoptotic characteristics in neurodegeneration models, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are known too. Analogous results have been confirmed by a large literature to be associated to the use of many other bioactive molecules such as resveratrol, tocopherol derivatives or vitamin E and others. It is interesting to note that the two opposite situations, namely the neoplastic pathology and the neurodegeneration, are characterized by deep alterations of the metabolome, of mitochondrial function and of oxygen consumption, so that the oncostatic and cytoprotective action can find a potential rationalization because of the different metabolic and mitochondrial situations, and in the effect that these molecules exercise on the mitochondrial function. In this review we discuss historical and general aspects of melatonin, relations between cancers and the metabolome and between neurodegeneration and the metabolome, and the possible effects of melatonin and of other bioactive molecules on metabolic and mitochondrial dynamics. Finally, we suggest a common general mechanism as responsible for the oncostatic/cytoprotective effect of melatonin and of other molecules examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochemistry and Mechanisms of Melanogenesis)
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