(41/232) Plenty new under the sun.

Variation at the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) is very common in most non-African world populations. A range of variants predispose to skin cancer, including melanoma. What remains unclear are the mechanisms linking gene variation with sun sensitivity or tumor risk. In particular, it remains unclear whether pigmentary effects of the MC1R can account for all of the increase in cancer risk.  (+info)

(42/232) Regulation of constitutive and UVR-induced skin pigmentation by melanocortin 1 receptor isoforms.

Melanin synthesized by epidermal melanocytes protects the skin against UVR-induced DNA damage and skin cancer. Exposure to UVR increases the synthesis of the photoprotective eumelanin on activation of MC1R, a melanoma susceptibility gene. We studied the expression of MC1R under UVR and alpha-MSH stimulation in skin of different ethnic origins and in melanocytes of various pigmentary levels. This study identifies and characterizes a novel MC1R isoform (MC1R350) generated by alternative splicing of the classically known MC1R (MC1R317). We demonstrate that the melanin content of melanocytes shows a significant positive correlation with MC1R317 levels but correlates inversely with the amount of MC1R350, suggesting that this latter isoform could act as a negative regulator of melanin synthesis. We confirmed that hypothesis by showing that while MC1R317 signaling significantly increases the expression of MITF and tyrosinase, two key factors in the melanin synthesis pathway, MC1R350 dramatically hampers their expression. In the skin, we show that UVR does not increase MC1R350 expression but does significantly increase MC1R317. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that MC1R350 acts as a negative regulator of skin pigmentation and demonstrate for the first time that MC1R isoform-specific expression is closely related to skin pigmentation and photoprotection.  (+info)

(43/232) A selective small molecule agonist of the melanocortin-1 receptor inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced cytokine accumulation and leukocyte infiltration in mice.

It is well established that melanocortins are peptides that have potent anti-inflammatory activity. Recent research has focused on understanding which of the known melanocortin receptors mediates the anti-inflammatory actions of the melanocortins. The aim of this study was to assess the anti-inflammatory activity of a synthetic MC-1R agonist. BMS-470539 is a potent, selective, full agonist of human and murine MC-1R with EC(50) values in a cAMP accumulation assay of 16.8 and 11.6 nM, respectively. BMS-470539 dose-dependently inhibited TNF-alpha-induced activation of a NF-kappaB transcriptional reporter in human melanoma cells, which endogenously express MC-1R. In vivo studies with BMS-470539 demonstrated that subcutaneous administration of BMS-470539 resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of LPS-induced TNF-alpha production in BALB/c mice. In this model, the compound had an ED(50) of approximately 10 micromol/kg and a pharmacodynamic half-life of approximately 8 h. Pharmacokinetic analysis of the compound indicated that the compound had a t(1/2) of 1.7 h. In a model of lung inflammation, administration of 15 micromol/kg BMS-470539 resulted in a 45% reduction in LPS-induced leukocyte infiltration (an infiltrate comprised primarily of neutrophils). The compound was also effective in a model of delayed-type hypersensitivity, reducing paw swelling by 59%, comparable with that seen with 5 mg/kg dexamethasone. These studies demonstrate that a selective small molecule agonist of the melanocortin-1 receptor is a potent anti-inflammatory agent in vivo and provides compelling evidence for the involvement of this receptor in the modulation of inflammation.  (+info)

(44/232) [D-Trp8]-gamma-melanocyte-stimulating hormone exhibits anti-inflammatory efficacy in mice bearing a nonfunctional MC1R (recessive yellow e/e mouse).

Two melanocortin receptors (MC1 and MC3R) have been identified as main transducers of the anti-inflammatory effects of natural and synthetic melanocortins. In this study, we have taken advantage of the recent description of the selective MC3R agonist [d-Trp(8)]-gamma-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) and of the recessive yellow (e/e) mouse, bearing a nonfunctional MC1R, thereby incrementing our knowledge on this topic. Culturing peritoneal macrophages of recessive yellow (e/e) mice with [d-Trp(8)]-gamma-MSH led to accumulation of cAMP, indicating MC3R receptor functionality: this effect was blocked by a neutralizing antibody against MC3R. Likewise, release of the chemokine KC by urate crystals was attenuated by [d-Trp(8)]-gamma-MSH, and this effect was prevented by synthetic [Ac-Nle(4)-c[Asp(5)-2'-Nal(7),Lys(10)]alpha-MSH(4-10)-NH(2) (SHU9119)] and natural [agouti-related protein (AGRP)] MC3R antagonists but not by the MC4R antagonist Ac-Cys-Nle-Arg-His-d-2-Nal-Arg-Trp-Cys-NH(2) (HS024). Systemic treatment of mice with [d-Trp(8)]-gamma-MSH inhibited KC release and polymorphonuclear cell accumulation elicited by urate crystals in the murine peritoneal cavity. SHU9119 and AGRP prevented the inhibitory actions of [d-Trp(8)]-gamma-MSH, whereas HS024 was inactive. We also demonstrate here that [d-Trp(8)]-gamma-MSH displays a dual mechanism of action by inducing the anti-inflammatory protein heme-oxygenase 1 (HO-1). Treatment with the HO-1 inhibitor zinc protoporphyrin IX exacerbated the inflammatory response elicited by urate crystals and abrogated the anti-inflammatory effects of [d-Trp(8)]-gamma-MSH. In conclusion, these data support the development of the selective MC3R agonist [d-Trp(8)]-gamma-MSH for the treatment of inflammatory pathologies, based on a dual mechanism of cytokine/chemokine inhibition and induction of the anti-inflammatory protein HO-1.  (+info)

(45/232) Population-based study of natural variation in the melanocortin-1 receptor gene and melanoma.

Natural variation in the coding region of the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene is associated with constitutive pigmentation phenotypes and development of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. We investigated the effect of MC1R variants on melanoma using a large, international population-based study design with complete determination of all MC1R coding region variants. Direct sequencing was completed for 2,202 subjects with a single primary melanoma (controls) and 1,099 subjects with second or higher-order primary melanomas (cases) from Australia, the United States, Canada, and Italy. We observed 85 different MC1R variants, 10 of which occurred at a frequency >1%. Compared with controls, cases were more likely to carry two previously identified red hair ("R") variants [D84E, R151C, R160W, and D294H; odds ratio (OR), 1.6; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.1-2.2]. This effect was similar among individuals carrying one R variant and one r variant (defined as any non-R MC1R variant; OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.3-2.2) and among those carrying only one R variant (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1-1.9). There was no statistically significant association among those carrying only one or two r variants. Effects were similar across geographic regions and categories of pigmentation characteristics or number of moles. Our results confirm that MC1R is a low-penetrance susceptibility locus for melanoma, show that pigmentation characteristics may not modify the relationship of MC1R variants and melanoma risk, and suggest that associations may be smaller than previously reported in part due to the study design.  (+info)

(46/232) Uveal melanocytes do not respond to or express receptors for alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone.

PURPOSE: Whereas cutaneous pigmentation increases after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, ocular pigmentation does not. This study was designed to examine the evidence that alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), which is thought to be the mediator of UV response in the skin, has any role to play in uveal melanocytes. METHODS: Human uveal melanocytes derived from the choroid and the iris were cultivated by using eyes harvested from adult cadaveric donors and were assessed by Northern blot analysis for growth and melanogenic response to alpha-MSH and expression of the receptor for alpha-MSH (MC1-R). In addition, expression of alpha-MSH was evaluated in ocular tissue by immunocytochemistry. RESULTS: Uveal melanocytes, unlike cutaneous melanocytes in vitro, exhibited no stimulation of proliferation in response to alpha-MSH at dosages ranging from 0.1 to 100 muM. In addition, tyrosine hydroxylase, DOPA oxidase, and protein levels for tyrosinase, TRP-1, and TRP-2 were not influenced by alpha-MSH. Associated with the lack of alpha-MSH response in cultured uveal melanocytes was the absence of expression of the receptor for alpha-MSH (MC1-R), as assessed by Northern blot analysis. Also in contrast to the skin, pigmented ocular tissue lacked expression of the alpha-MSH ligand, as assessed by immunocytochemistry. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, ocular pigmentation does not appear to be regulated by melanocyte stimulating hormone.  (+info)

(47/232) Peripheral effect of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone on fatty acid oxidation in skeletal muscle.

To study the peripheral effects of melanocortin on fuel homeostasis in skeletal muscle, we assessed palmitate oxidation and AMP kinase activity in alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH)-treated muscle cells. After alpha-MSH treatment, carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 and fatty acid oxidation (FAO) increased in a dose-dependent manner. A strong melanocortin agonist, NDP-MSH, also stimulated FAO in primary culture muscle cells and C2C12 cells. However, [Glu6]alpha-MSH-ND, which has ample MC4R and MC3R agonistic activity, stimulated FAO only at high concentrations (10(-5) M). JKC-363, a selective MC4R antagonist, did not suppress alpha-MSH-induced FAO. Meanwhile, SHU9119, which has both antagonistic activity on MC3R and MC4R and agonistic activity on both MC1R and MC5R, increased the effect of alpha-MSH on FAO in both C2C12 and primary muscle cells. Small interference RNA against MC5R suppressed the alpha-MSH-induced FAO effectively. cAMP analogues mimicked the effect of alpha-MSH on FAO, and the effects of both alpha-MSH and cAMP analogue-mediated FAO were antagonized by a protein kinase A inhibitor (H89) and a cAMP antagonist ((Rp)-cAMP). Acetyl-CoA carboxylase activity was suppressed by alpha-MSH and cAMP analogues by phosphorylation through AMP-activated protein kinase activation in C2C12 cells. Taken together, these results suggest that alpha-MSH increases FAO in skeletal muscle, in which MC5R may play a major role. Furthermore, these results suggest that alpha-MSH-induced FAO involves cAMP-protein kinase A-mediated AMP-activated protein kinase activation.  (+info)

(48/232) Regulation of human melanocortin 1 receptor signaling and trafficking by Thr-308 and Ser-316 and its alteration in variant alleles associated with red hair and skin cancer.

The melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) positively coupled to adenylyl cyclase, is a key regulator of melanocyte proliferation and differentiation and a determinant of pigmentation, skin phototype, and skin cancer risk. MC1R activation stimulates melanogenesis and increases the ratio of black, strongly photoprotective eumelanins to yellowish and poorly photoprotective pheomelanin pigments. Desensitization and internalization are key regulatory mechanisms of GPCR signaling. Agonist-induced desensitization usually depends on phosphorylation by a GPCR kinase (GRK) followed by receptor internalization in endocytic vesicles. We have shown that MC1R desensitization is mediated by two GRKs expressed in melanocytes and melanoma cells, GRK2 and GRK6. Here we show that in contrast with this dual specificity for desensitization, GRK6 but not GRK2 mediated MC1R internalization. Mutagenesis studies suggested that the targets of GRK6 are two residues located in the MC1R cytosolic C terminus, Thr-308 and Ser-316. A T308D/S316D mutant mimicking their phosphorylated state was constitutively desensitized and associated with endosomes, whereas a T308A/S316A mutant was resistant to desensitization and internalization. We studied the desensitization and internalization of three variant MC1R forms associated with red hair and increased skin cancer risk: R151C, R160W, and D294H. These variants showed a less efficient desensitization. Moreover, D294H was resistant to internalization, thus accounting for its abnormally high surface expression. Co-expression of variant and wild type MC1R modified its desensitization and internalization behavior. These data suggest that MC1R might be regulated by novel mechanisms including differential effects of GRKs and altered desensitization rates of certain allelic combinations.  (+info)