Agouti Signaling Protein: A secreted protein of approximately 131 amino acids (depending on species) that regulates the synthesis of eumelanin (brown/black) pigments in MELANOCYTES. Agouti protein antagonizes the signaling of MELANOCORTIN RECEPTORS and has wide distribution including ADIPOSE TISSUE; GONADS; and HEART. Its overexpression in agouti mice results in uniform yellow coat color, OBESITY, and metabolic defects similar to type II diabetes in humans.Hair Color: Color of hair or fur.Receptors, Melanocortin: A family of G-protein-coupled receptors that have specificity for MELANOCYTE-STIMULATING HORMONES and ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE. There are several subtypes of melanocortin receptors, each having a distinct ligand specificity profile and tissue localization.Receptors, Corticotropin: Cell surface receptors that bind CORTICOTROPIN; (ACTH, adrenocorticotropic hormone) with high affinity and trigger intracellular changes. Pharmacology suggests there may be multiple ACTH receptors. An ACTH receptor has been cloned and belongs to a subfamily of G-protein-coupled receptors. In addition to the adrenal cortex, ACTH receptors are found in the brain and immune systems.Pigmentation: Coloration or discoloration of a part by a pigment.Agouti-Related Protein: A secreted protein of approximately 131 amino acids that is related to AGOUTI SIGNALING PROTEIN and is also an antagonist of MELANOCORTIN RECEPTOR activity. It is expressed primarily in the HYPOTHALAMUS and the ADRENAL GLAND. As a paracrine signaling molecule, AGRP is known to regulate food intake and body weight. Elevated AGRP has been associated with OBESITY.Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins: Regulatory proteins and peptides that are signaling molecules involved in the process of PARACRINE COMMUNICATION. They are generally considered factors that are expressed by one cell and are responded to by receptors on another nearby cell. They are distinguished from HORMONES in that their actions are local rather than distal.Receptor, Melanocortin, Type 1: A melanocortin receptor subtype found primarily in MELANOCYTES. It shows specificity for ALPHA-MSH and ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE. Loss of function mutations of the type 1 melanocortin receptor account for the majority of red hair and fair skin recessive traits in human.alpha-MSH: A 13-amino acid peptide derived from proteolytic cleavage of ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE, the N-terminal segment of ACTH. ACTH (1-13) is amidated at the C-terminal to form ACTH (1-13)NH2 which in turn is acetylated to form alpha-MSH in the secretory granules. Alpha-MSH stimulates the synthesis and distribution of MELANIN in MELANOCYTES in mammals and MELANOPHORES in lower vertebrates.Melanins: Insoluble polymers of TYROSINE derivatives found in and causing darkness in skin (SKIN PIGMENTATION), hair, and feathers providing protection against SUNBURN induced by SUNLIGHT. CAROTENES contribute yellow and red coloration.Proteins: Linear POLYPEPTIDES that are synthesized on RIBOSOMES and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of AMINO ACIDS determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during PROTEIN FOLDING, and the function of the protein.Genes, Intracisternal A-Particle: Genes of IAP elements (a family of retrovirus-like genetic elements) which code for virus-like particles (IAPs) found regularly in rodent early embryos. ("Intracisternal" refers to the cisternae of the endoplasmic reticulum.) Under certain circumstances, such as DNA hypomethylation they are transcribed. Their transcripts are found in a variety of neoplasms, including plasmacytomas, neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcomas, teratocarcinomas, and colon carcinomas.Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones: Peptides with the ability to stimulate pigmented cells MELANOCYTES in mammals and MELANOPHORES in lower vertebrates. By stimulating the synthesis and distribution of MELANIN in these pigmented cells, they increase coloration of skin and other tissue. MSHs, derived from pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), are produced by MELANOTROPHS in the INTERMEDIATE LOBE OF PITUITARY; CORTICOTROPHS in the ANTERIOR LOBE OF PITUITARY, and the hypothalamic neurons in the ARCUATE NUCLEUS OF HYPOTHALAMUS.Rats, Inbred LEC: A cinnamon-colored strain of Long-Evans rats which carries a mutation causing fulminant hepatitis and jaundice, with an associated gross accumulation of copper in the liver. This strain is a model for Wilson's Disease (see HEPATOLENTICULAR DEGENERATION).Skin Pigmentation: Coloration of the skin.