Black mask is a characteristic pattern in which red, yellow, tan, fawn, or brindle dogs exhibit a melanistic muzzle which may extend up onto the ears. Melanistic mask is inherited in several breeds as an autosomal dominant trait, and appears to be a fixed trait in a few breeds of dogs. A MC1R nonsense mutation, R306ter, has been shown to cause a completely red or yellow coat color in certain breeds such as Irish setters, yellow Labrador retrievers, and golden retrievers. The amino acid sequence for the melanocortin receptor 1 gene (MC1R) was examined in 17 dogs with melanistic masks from seven breeds, 19 dogs without melanistic masks, and 7 dogs in which their coat color made the mask difficult to distinguish. We also examined nine brindle dogs of four breeds, including three dogs who also had a black mask. No consistent amino acid change was observed in the brindle dogs. All dogs with a melanistic mask had at least one copy of a valine substitution for methionine at amino acid 264 (M264V) and none were homozygous for the premature stop codon (R306ter). These results suggest that black mask, but not brindle, is caused by a specific MC1R allele. (+info)
(2/232) Exclusion of melanocortin-1 receptor (mc1r) and agouti as candidates for dominant black in dogs.
The domestic dog exhibits a variety of coat colors that encompass a wide range of variation among different breeds. Very little is known about the molecular biology of dog pigmentation; current understanding is based mostly on traditional breeding experiments, which in some cases have suggested genetic interactions that are different from those reported in other mammals. We have examined the molecular genetics of dominant black, a uniform coat color characteristic of black Labrador retrievers or Newfoundlands that has been proposed to be caused by either variation in the melanocortin-1 receptor gene (Mc1r) or by variation in the Agouti gene (A). We identified several coding polymorphisms within Mc1r and several simple sequence repeat polymorphisms closely linked to A, and examined their inheritance in a Labrador retriever x greyhound cross that segregates dominant black. No single Mc1r allele was found consistently in animals carrying dominant black, and neither Mc1r nor A cosegregated with dominant black. These results refine our understanding of mammalian coat color inheritance and suggest that dominant black coat color in dogs is caused by a gene not previously implicated in pigment type switching. (+info)
(3/232) Unmelanized plumage patterns in Old World leaf warblers do not correspond to sequence variation at the melanocortin-1 receptor locus (MC1R).
Evolutionary changes in patterns and coloration of plumage are likely to represent a major mechanism for speciation among birds, yet the molecular basis for such changes remains poorly understood. Recently much attention has focused on the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) as a candidate locus for determining the level and extent of epidermal melanin deposition. We tested the hypothesis that MC1R sequence variation is associated with interspecific variation in unmelanized plumage pattern elements in Old World leaf warblers (genus Phylloscopus). This genus is characterized by a variety of plumage patterns that nonetheless vary along similar lines. Species vary in the presence or absence of pale (unmelanized) pattern elements against a dark background, and these patterns are used in species recognition and courtship. We sequenced most of the MC1R coding region for eight Phylloscopus species, representing the full range of plumage patterns found in this genus. Although MC1R sequence varied among species, this variation was not related to melanin-based plumage variation. Rather, evolution of this locus in these birds appears to be conservative. Ratios of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions (dN/dS) were consistently low, suggesting that strong purifying selection has operated at this locus, and likelihood ratio testing revealed no evidence of variable selective pressures among lineages or across codons. Adaptive evolution at MC1R may be constrained by the adaptive importance of plumage pattern elements in this genus. (+info)
(4/232) Autocrine inhibitory influences of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone in malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a highly aggressive tumor arising from the mesothelial cells that line the pleural cavities. This tumor is resistant to most conventional anticancer treatments and appears to be very sensitive to growth-promoting influences of cytokines and growth factors. Identification of natural inhibitory pathways that control growth should aid discovery of novel therapeutic approaches. We hypothesized that alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), which is produced by many cell types and antagonizes cytokines and growth factors, could be an endogenous inhibitory molecule in mesothelioma. Twelve mesothelioma cell lines were established from pleural effusions of patients with malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma cells were found to express mRNA for proopiomelanocortin and its processing enzymes; release alpha-MSH peptide into supernatants; and express melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), the high-affinity receptor for alpha-MSH. Immunoneutralization of MC1R in the cell lines enhanced expression of interleukin-8 (IL-8), IL-6, and transforming growth factor-beta. These molecules promote mesothelioma proliferation and are considered therapeutic targets in this tumor. Coincubation of mesothelioma cells with synthetic alpha-MSH significantly reduced cell proliferation. The present research shows an autocrine-inhibitory circuit based on alpha-MSH and its receptor MC1R. Activation of MC1R by selective peptides or peptidomimetics might provide a novel strategy to reduce mesothelioma cell proliferation by taking advantage of this endogenous inhibitory circuit. (+info)
(5/232) Role of MC1R variants in uveal melanoma.
Variants of the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene have been linked to sun-sensitive skin types and hair colour, and may independently play a role in susceptibility to cutaneous melanoma. To assess the role of MC1R variants in uveal melanoma, we have analysed a cohort of 350 patients for the changes within the major region of the gene displaying sequence variation. Eight variants were detected - V60L, D84E, V92M, R151C, I155T, R160W, R163Q and D294H - 63% of these patients being hetero- or homozygous for at least one variant. Standard melanoma risk factor data were available on 119 of the patients. MC1R variants were significantly associated with hair colour (P=0.03) but not skin or eye colour. The frequency of the variants detected in the 350 patients was comparable with those in the general population, and comparison of the cumulative tumour distribution by age at diagnosis in carriers and noncarriers provided no evidence that MC1R variants confer an increased risk of uveal melanoma. We interpret the data as indicating that MC1R variants do not appear to be major determinants of susceptibility to uveal melanoma. (+info)
(6/232) Collagen metabolism is a novel target of the neuropeptide alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone.
Suppression of collagen synthesis is a major therapeutic goal in the treatment of fibrotic disorders. We show here that alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), a neuropeptide well known for its pigment-inducing capacity, modulates collagen synthesis and deposition. Alpha-MSH in vitro suppresses the synthesis of collagen types I, III, and V and down-regulates the secretion of procollagen type I C-terminal peptide (PICP) in human dermal fibroblasts treated with the fibrogenic cytokine transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1). Alpha-MSH did not interfere with TGF-beta1 signaling, because TGF-beta1-induced expression of collagen mRNA was not affected, implying a posttranscriptional mechanism. Human dermal fibroblasts in vitro express a high affinity binding site for MSH, which was identified by reverse transcription PCR and immunofluorescence analysis as the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC-1R). Immunohistochemical studies on normal adult human skin confirmed MC-1R expression in distinct dermal fibroblastic cells. The MC-1R on fibroblasts appears to be functionally relevant because alpha-MSH increased the amount of intracellular cAMP, and coincubation with a synthetic peptide corresponding to the human Agouti signaling protein abrogated the inhibition of TGF-beta1-induced PICP secretion by alpha-MSH. To assess the in vivo relevance of these findings, a mouse model was used in which dermal fibrosis was induced by repetitive intracutaneous injections with TGF-beta1. The inductive activity of TGF-beta1 on collagen deposition and the number of dermal cells immunoreactive for vimentin and alpha-smooth muscle actin was significantly suppressed by injection of alpha-MSH. Melanocortins such as alpha-MSH may therefore represent a novel class of modulators with potential usefulness for the treatment of fibrotic disorders. (+info)
(7/232) Interactive effects of MC1R and OCA2 on melanoma risk phenotypes.
The relationships between MC1R gene variants and red hair, skin reflectance, degree of freckling and nevus count were investigated in 2331 adolescent twins, their sibs and parents in 645 twin families. Penetrance of each MC1R variant allele was consistent with an allelic model where effects were multiplicative for red hair but additive for skin reflectance. Of nine MC1R variant alleles assayed, four common alleles were strongly associated with red hair and fair skin (Asp84Glu, Arg151Cys, Arg160Trp and Asp294His), with a further three alleles having low penetrance (Val60Leu, Val92Met and Arg163Gln). These variants were separately combined for the purposes of this analysis and designated as strong 'R' (OR=63.3; 95% CI 31.9-139.6) and weak 'r ' (OR=5.1; 95% CI 2.5-11.3) red hair alleles. Red-haired individuals are predominantly seen in the R/R and R/r groups with 67.1 and 10.8%, respectively. To assess the interaction of the brown eye color gene OCA2 on the phenotypic effects of variant MC1R alleles we included eye color as a covariate, and also genotyped two OCA2 SNPs (Arg305Trp and Arg419Gln), which were confirmed as modifying eye color. MC1R genotype effects on constitutive skin color, freckling and mole count were modified by eye color, but not genotype for these two OCA2 SNPs. This is probably due to the association of these OCA2 SNPs with brown/green not blue eye color. Amongst individuals with a R/R genotype (but not R/r), those who also had brown eyes had a mole count twice that of those with blue eyes. This suggests that other OCA2 polymorphisms influence mole count and remain to be described. (+info)
(8/232) Quantitative measures of the effect of the melanocortin 1 receptor on human pigmentary status.
Variation in human hair and skin color is the most striking visible aspect of human genetic variation. The only gene known to exert an effect on pigmentary within the normal population is the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R). Previous studies have used a Mendelian framework to relate MC1R genotype to phenotype, by measuring pigmentary status using categorical scales. Such approaches are inadequate. We report results using direct measures of hair color using objective colorimetric dimensions and HPLC determined hair melanins. We have linked MC1R genotype with chemical measures of melanin quantity and type and objective phenotype measures of color. MC1R genotype was predictive of hair melanin expressed as the ratio of the loge of eumelanin to pheomelanin ratio, with a dosage effect evident: MC1R homozygote mean, 1.46; heterozygote, 4.44; and wild type, 5.81 (p<0.001). Approximately 67% of the variance in this model could be accounted for in terms of MC1R genotype. There was also a relation between MC1R status and hair color, most prominently for the b* axis (p<0.001), but also for the a* and L* scales (L*a*b*, CIE). We show for one of the most polymorphic human traits that it is possible to demonstrate meaningful relations between various physical characteristics: DNA sequence diversity, hair-wavelength-specific reflectance patterns, and chemical melanin assays. (+info)