Melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) and neuropeptide EI (NEI) are two peptides produced from the same precursor in mammals, by cleavage at the Arg145-Arg146 site and the Lys129-Arg130 site, respectively. We performed co-localization studies to reveal simultaneously the expression of MCH mRNA and proconvertases (PCs) such as PC1/3 or PC2. In the rat hypothalamus, PC2 was present in all MCH neurons, and PC1/3 was present in about 15-20% of these cells. PC1/3 or PC2 was not found in MCH-positive cells in the spleen. In GH4C1 cells co-infected with vaccinia virus (VV):pro-MCH along with VV:furin, PACE4, PC1/3, PC2, PC5/6A, PC5/6B, or PC7, we observed only efficient cleavage at the Arg145-Arg146 site to generate mature MCH. Co-expression of pro-MCH together with PC2 and 7B2 resulted in very weak processing to NEI. Comparison of pro-MCH processing patterns in PC1/3- or PC2-transfected PC12 cells showed that PC2 but not PC1/3 generated NEI. Finally, we analyzed the pattern of pro-MCH processing in PC2 null mice. In the brain of homozygotic mutants, the production of mature NEI was dramatically reduced. In contrast, MCH content was increased in the hypothalamus of PC2 null mice. In the spleen, a single large MCH-containing peptide was identified in both wild type and PC2 null mice. Together, our data suggest that pro-MCH is processed differently in the brain and in peripheral organs of mammals. PC2 is the key enzyme that produces NEI, whereas several PCs may cleave at the Arg145-Arg146 site to generate MCH in neuronal cell types. (+info)
(2/1585) Effects of lithium on pigmentation in the embryonic zebrafish (Brachydanio rerio).
Pigment cell precursors of the embryonic zebrafish give rise to melanophores, xanthophores and/or iridophores. Cell signaling mechanisms related to the development of pigmentation remain obscure. In order to examine the mechanisms involved in pigment cell signaling, we treated zebrafish embryos with various activators and inhibitors of signaling pathways. Among those chemicals tested, LiCl and LiCl/forskolin had a stimulatory effect on pigmentation, most notable in the melanophore population. We propose that the inositol phosphate (IP) pathway, is involved in pigment pattern formation in zebrafish through its involvement in the: (1) differentiation/proliferation of melanophores; (2) dispersion of melanosomes; and/or (3) synthesis/deposition of melanin. To discern at what level pigmentation was being effected we: (1) counted the number of melanophores in control and experimental animals 5 days after treatment; (2) measured tyrosinase activity and melanin content; and (3) employed immunoblotting techniques with anti-tyrosine-related protein-2 and anti-melanocyte-specific gene-1 as melanophore-specific markers. Although gross pigmentation increased dramatically in LiCl- and LiCl/forskolin treated embryos, the effect on pigmentation was not due to an increase in the proliferation of melanophores, but was possibly through an increase in melanin synthesis and/or deposition. Collectively, results from these studies suggest the involvement of an IP-signaling pathway in the stimulation of pigmentation in embryonic zebrafish through the synthesis/deposition of melanin within the neural crest-derived melanophores. (+info)
(3/1585) The effect of the orexins on food intake: comparison with neuropeptide Y, melanin-concentrating hormone and galanin.
Orexin-A and orexin-B (the hypocretins) are recently described neuropeptides suggested to have a physiological role in the regulation of food intake in the rat. We compared the orexigenic effect of the orexins administered intracerebroventricular (ICV) with other known stimulants of food intake, one strong, neuropeptide Y (NPY), and two weaker, melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) and galanin. Orexin-A consistently stimulated food intake, but orexin-B only on occasions. Both peptides stimulated food intake significantly less than NPY, but to a similar extent to MCH (2 h food intake: NPY 3 nmol, 7.2+/-0.9 g vs saline, 1.5+/-0.2 g, P<0.001, MCH 3 nmol, 3.2+/-0.8 g vs saline, P<0.01, orexin-B 30 nmol, 2. 6+/-0.5 g vs saline, P=0.11) and to galanin (1 h food intake: galanin 3 nmol, 2.0+/-0.4 g vs saline, 0.8+/-0.2 g, P<0.05, orexin-A 3 nmol 2.2+/-0.4 g vs saline, P<0.01; 2 hour food intake: orexin-B 3 nmol, 2.4+/-0.3 g vs saline, 1.3+/-0.2 g, P<0.05). Following ICV orexin-A, hypothalamic c-fos, a maker of neuronal activation, was highly expressed in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), and the arcuate nucleus (P<0.005 for both). IntraPVN injection of orexin-A stimulated 2 h food intake by one gram (orexin-A 0.03 nmol, 1.6+/-0. 3 g vs saline, 0.5+/-0.3 g, P<0.005). These findings support the suggestion that the orexins stimulate food intake. However, this effect is weak and may cast doubt upon their physiological importance in appetite regulation in the rat. (+info)
(4/1585) Topical all-trans retinoic acid augments ultraviolet radiation-induced increases in activated melanocyte numbers in mice.
We have previously shown that daily application of 0.05% retinoic acid to the backs of lightly pigmented, hairless HRA:Skh-2 mice increases melanogenesis resulting from exposure to solar-simulated ultraviolet radiation. In this study we show that as early as 1 wk following commencement of treatment, there is a 2- fold increase in the number of epidermal 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine positive melanocytes in retinoic acid and ultraviolet radiation treated HRA:Skh-2 mice compared with mice that received ultraviolet radiation only. This increased to a 2.9-fold difference by 6 wk. Retinoic acid also augmented ultraviolet radiation-stimulated melanogenesis, with a 4-fold increase being observed after only 2 wk. These findings were also seen in C57BL mice. Ultraviolet radiation and retinoic acid needed to be applied to the same skin site for the augmentation in melanocyte activation to occur. Ultraviolet B rather than ultraviolet A was mainly responsible for melanogenesis and the retinoic acid primarily increased ultraviolet B-induced melanogenesis. Furthermore, retinoic acid on it's own, in the absence of ultraviolet radiation caused a small but statistically significant increase in 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine positive melanocyte numbers and melanogenesis. Thus topical retinoic acid is a potent modulator of melanocyte activation. Alone it is able to increase the number of activated epidermal melanocytes and make melanocytes more sensitive to activation by ultraviolet B. (+info)
(5/1585) Tumor necrosis factor alpha-mediated inhibition of melanogenesis is dependent on nuclear factor kappa B activation.
Melanogenesis is a physiological process resulting in the synthesis of melanin pigments which play a crucial protective role against skin photocarcinogenesis. In vivo, solar ultraviolet light triggers the secretion of numerous keratinocyte-derived factors that are implicated in the regulation of melanogenesis. Among these, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), a cytokine implicated in the pro-inflammatory response, down-regulates pigment synthesis in vitro. In this report, we aimed to determine the molecular mechanisms by which this cytokine inhibits melanogenesis in B16 melanoma cells. First, we show that TNFalpha inhibits the activity and protein expression of tyrosinase which is the key enzyme of melanogenesis. Further, we demonstrate that this effect is subsequent to a down-regulation of the tyrosinase promoter activity in both basal and cAMP-induced melanogenesis. Finally, we present evidence indicating that the inhibitory effect of TNFalpha on melanogenesis is dependent on nuclear factor kappa B (NFkappaB) activation. Indeed, overexpression of this transcription factor in B16 cells is sufficient to inhibit tyrosinase promoter activity. Furthermore, a mutant of inhibitory kappa B (IkappaB), that prevents NFkappaB activation, is able to revert the effect of TNFalpha on the tyrosinase promoter activity. Taken together, our results clarify the mechanisms by which TNFalpha inhibits pigmentation and point out the key role of NFkappaB in the regulation of melanogenesis. (+info)
(6/1585) Purification and characterization of a secreted laccase of Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici.
We purified a secreted fungal laccase from filtrates of Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici cultures induced with copper and xylidine. The active protein had an apparent molecular mass of 190 kDa and yielded subunits with molecular masses of 60 kDa when denatured and deglycosylated. This laccase had a pI of 5.6 and an optimal pH of 4.5 with 2,6-dimethoxyphenol as its substrate. Like other, previously purified laccases, this one contained several copper atoms in each subunit, as determined by inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy. The active enzyme catalyzed the oxidation of 2, 6-dimethoxyphenol (Km = 2.6 x 10(-5) +/- 7 x 10(-6) M), catechol (Km = 2.5 x 10(-4) +/- 1 x 10(-5) M), pyrogallol (Km = 3.1 x 10(-4) +/- 4 x 10(-5) M), and guaiacol (Km = 5.1 x 10(-4) +/- 2 x 10(-5) M). In addition, the laccase catalyzed the polymerization of 1, 8-dihydroxynaphthalene, a natural fungal melanin precursor, into a high-molecular-weight melanin and catalyzed the oxidation, or decolorization, of the dye poly B-411, a lignin-like polymer. These findings indicate that this laccase may be involved in melanin polymerization in this phytopathogen's hyphae and/or in lignin depolymerization in its infected plant host. (+info)
(7/1585) Possible involvement of proteolytic degradation of tyrosinase in the regulatory effect of fatty acids on melanogenesis.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanism of fatty acid-induced regulation of melanogenesis. An apparent regulatory effect on melanogenesis was observed when cultured B16F10 melanoma cells were incubated with fatty acids, i.e., linoleic acid (unsaturated, C18:2) decreased melanin synthesis while palmitic acid (saturated, C16:0) increased it. However, mRNA levels of the melanogenic enzymes, tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein 1 (TRP1), and tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP2), were not altered. Regarding protein levels of these enzymes, the amount of tyrosinase was decreased by linoleic acid and increased by palmitic acid, whereas the amounts of TRP1 and TRP2 did not change after incubation with fatty acids. Pulse-chase assay by [35S]methionine metabolic labeling revealed that neither linoleic acid nor palmitic acid altered the synthesis of tyrosinase. Further, it was shown that linoleic acid accelerated, while palmitic acid decelerated, the proteolytic degradation of tyrosinase. These results suggest that modification of proteolytic degradation of tyrosinase is involved in regulatory effects of fatty acids on melanogenesis in cultured melanoma cells. (+info)
(8/1585) Structure and developmental expression of the ascidian TRP gene: insights into the evolution of pigment cell-specific gene expression.
The tyrosinase family in vertebrates consists of three related melanogenic enzymes: tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein-1 (TRP-1), and TRP-2. These proteins control melanin production in pigment cells and play a crucial role in determining vertebrate coloration. We have isolated a gene from the ascidian Halocynthia roretzi which encodes a tyrosinase-related protein (HrTRP) with 45-49% identity with vertebrate TRP-1 and TRP-2. The expression of the HrTRP gene in pigment lineage a8.25 cells starts at the early-mid gastrula stage, which coincides with the stage when these cells are determined as pigment precursor cells; therefore, it provides the earliest pigment lineage-specific marker, which enables us to trace the complete cell lineage leading to two pigment cells in the larval brain. In addition, the expression pattern of the HrTRP gene appears to share similar characteristics with the mouse TRP-2 gene although structurally the HrTRP gene is more closely related to mammalian TRP-1 genes. Based on these observations and on results from molecular phylogenetic and hybridization analyses, we suggest that triplication of the tyrosinase family occurred during the early radiation of chordates. Initially, duplication of an ancestral tyrosinase gene produced a single TRP gene before the urochordate and cephalochordate-vertebrate divergence, and a subsequent duplication of the ancestral TRP gene in the vertebrate lineage gave rise to two TRP genes before the emergence of teleost fishes. Evolution of the melanin synthetic pathway and possible phylogenetic relationships among chordate pigment cells that accommodate the metabolic process are discussed. Dev Dyn 1999;215:225-237. (+info)