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)
High polymorphism at the human melanocortin 1 receptor locus.
Variation in human skin/hair pigmentation is due to varied amounts of eumelanin (brown/black melanins) and phaeomelanin (red/yellow melanins) produced by the melanocytes. The melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) is a regulator of eu- and phaeomelanin production in the melanocytes, and MC1R mutations causing coat color changes are known in many mammals. We have sequenced the MC1R gene in 121 individuals sampled from world populations with an emphasis on Asian populations. We found variation at five nonsynonymous sites (resulting in the variants Arg67Gln, Asp84Glu, Val92Met, Arg151Cys, and Arg163Gln), but at only one synonymous site (A942G). Interestingly, the human consensus protein sequence is observed in all 25 African individuals studied, but at lower frequencies in the other populations examined, especially in East and Southeast Asians. The Arg163Gln variant is absent in the Africans studied, almost absent in Europeans, and at a low frequency (7%) in Indians, but is at an exceptionally high frequency (70%) in East and Southeast Asians. The MC1R gene in common and pygmy chimpanzees, gorilla, orangutan, and baboon was sequenced to study the evolution of MC1R. The ancestral human MC1R sequence is identical to the human consensus protein sequence, while MC1R varies considerably among higher primates. A comparison of the rates of substitution in genes in the melanocortin receptor family indicates that MC1R has evolved the fastest. In addition, the nucleotide diversity at the MC1R locus is shown to be several times higher than the average nucleotide diversity in human populations, possibly due to diversifying selection. (+info)
Skin pigmentary anomalies and mosaicism for an acentric marker chromosome originating from 3q.
We report on a 22 year old man with hyperpigmentation distributed along the lines of Blaschko in whom cytogenetic analysis showed mosaicism for an unusual supernumerary marker chromosome. The patient was of normal intelligence and was not dysmorphic. The marker was present in 30% of his lymphocytes and in 6% of his skin fibroblasts from a dark area, while fibroblasts from a light area showed a normal karyotype, 46,XY. We have identified the origin of the marker using fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) with whole chromosome painting probes and YAC specific clones. The marker was found to consist of duplicated chromosome material from the distal part of chromosome 3q and was interpreted as inv dup(3)(qter-->q27.1::q27.1-->qter). Hence, this marker did not include any known centromeric region and no alpha satellite DNA could be detected at the site of the primary constriction. The patient was therefore tetrasomic for 3q27-q29 in the cells containing the marker chromosome. We postulate that, in our case, pigmentary anomalies may result directly from the gain of specific pigmentation genes localised on chromosome 3q. (+info)
alyron, an insertional mutation affecting early neural crest development in zebrafish.
alyronz12 (aln) is a recessive lethal mutation that affects early stages of neural crest development in the zebrafish. alyron appears to be an insertional mutation as the mutation was generated following microinjection of plasmid DNA into one-cell embryos and the stably integrated transgenic sequences are closely linked to the mutation. The insertion site harbors multiple copies of the plasmid sequence that have experienced complex rearrangements. Host-insert junction fragments have been molecularly cloned and host sequences adjacent to the transgene have been used to map the mutation to the distal arm of linkage group 15. alyron function is required cell-autonomously in the neural crest lineage. alyron mutants have a severe but not complete deficit of premigratory neural crest as judged by reduced expression of several markers associated with early stages of neural crest development. Lack of premigratory neural crest is likely to account for the two most conspicuous characteristics of alyron mutants: the absence of body pigmentation and the inability to affect blood circulation. The neural crest phenotype of alyron mutants resembles that observed in mouse mutants that lack Pax-3 or both Wnt-1 and Wnt-3a function, and expression of the zebrafish homologues of these genes is greatly reduced in the dorsal neural keels of alyron mutants. In contrast, ventral neural keel identity appears unaffected. Given our findings that the mutation is unlinked to pax or wnt genes that have been described in the zebrafish, we propose that alyron is a novel gene function required for the specification and/or proliferative expansion of neural crest progenitors. (+info)
An L1 element intronic insertion in the black-eyed white (Mitf[mi-bw]) gene: the loss of a single Mitf isoform responsible for the pigmentary defect and inner ear deafness.
Waardenburg syndrome type 2 (WS2) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by a combination of pigmentary and auditory abnormalities. Approximately 20% of WS2 cases are associated with mutations in the gene encoding microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF). MITF plays a critical role in the development of both neural-crest-derived melanocytes and optic cup-derived retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE); the loss of a functional Mitf in mice results in complete absence of all pigment cells, which in turn induces microphthalmia and inner ear deafness. The black-eyed white Mitf mi-bw homozygous mouse normally has a pigmented RPE but lacks melanocytes essential for the pigmentation of the body and hearing. We show here that Mitf mi-bw is caused by an insertion into intron 3 of a 7.2 kb novel L1 element, L1bw, which belongs to an actively retrotransposing TF subfamily. The L1bw insertion reduces the amount of mRNAs for two Mitf isoforms, Mitf-A and Mitf-H, by affecting their overall expression levels and pre-mRNA splicing patterns, while it abolishes mRNA expression of another isoform, Mitf-M, which is specifically expressed in neural-crest-derived melanocytes. The consequence of the L1 insertion in the black-eyed white Mitf mi-bw mouse is that the developmental programme for RPE cells proceeds normally, most likely because of the presence of residual, full-length Mitf-A and Mitf-H proteins, whereas the lack of Mitf-M results in loss of the melanocyte population. The results suggest that melanocyte development depends critically on a single Mitf isoform, Mitf-M, and raise the possibility that specific mutations affecting MITF-M, the human equivalent of Mitf-M, may be responsible for a subset of WS2 conditions. (+info)
Combination immunotherapy of B16 melanoma using anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-producing vaccines induces rejection of subcutaneous and metastatic tumors accompanied by autoimmune depigmentation.
We examined the effectiveness of cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) blockade, alone or in combination with a granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-expressing tumor cell vaccine, on rejection of the highly tumorigenic, poorly immunogenic murine melanoma B16-BL6. Recently established tumors could be eradicated in 80% (68/85) of the cases using combination treatment, whereas each treatment by itself showed little or no effect. Tumor rejection was dependent on CD8(+) and NK1.1(+) cells but occurred irrespective of the presence of CD4(+) T cells. Mice surviving a primary challenge rejected a secondary challenge with B16-BL6 or the parental B16-F0 line. The same treatment regimen was found to be therapeutically effective against outgrowth of preestablished B16-F10 lung metastases, inducing long-term survival. Of all mice surviving B16-BL6 or B16-F10 tumors after combination treatment, 56% (38/68) developed depigmentation, starting at the site of vaccination or challenge and in most cases progressing to distant locations. Depigmentation was found to occur in CD4-depleted mice, strongly suggesting that the effect was mediated by CTLs. This study shows that CTLA-4 blockade provides a powerful tool to enhance T cell activation and memory against a poorly immunogenic spontaneous murine tumor and that this may involve recruitment of autoreactive T cells. (+info)
Induction of melanoma in TPras transgenic mice.
In order to study the oncogenesis of melanocytes, transgenic mouse lines were established that express a mutated human Ha-ras (TPras) gene in pigment producing cells. The ras transgenic mice exhibit an altered phenotype, including melanocytic hyperplasia and a muted agouti coat, indicative of hyperproliferative melanocytes. These mice and their wild-type littermates have been subjected to a variety of carcinogenesis protocols, including 7, 12-dimethylbenz-[a]anthracene (DMBA), 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) and UV radiation exposure. Topical DMBA treatment of TPras mice resulted in a high incidence of melanomas. Metastatic lesions were observed in skin, lungs and lymph nodes. TPA treatment of TPras mice induced a small number of papillomas but no nevi or melanomas. UV light exposures induced papillomas in negative littermate and melanomas in some albino TPras mice. These results show that melanocytes expressing an activated Ha-ras in the TPras transgenic mice are susceptible to induction of melanoma by DMBA. (+info)
Dorsal skin color patterns among southern right whales (Eubalaena australis): genetic basis and evolutionary significance.
Distribution and inheritance of dorsal skin color markings among two populations of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) suggest that two genes influence dorsal skin color. The grey-morph and partial-grey-morph phenotypes (previously known as partial albino and grey-blaze, respectively) appear to be controlled by an X-linked gene, whereas the white blaze appears controlled by an autosomal gene (recessive phenotype). Calving intervals, calf size, and length of sighting history data suggest that partial-grey-morph, white-blaze, and black cows experience similar levels of reproductive success. Grey-morph cows (XgXg) are rare or absent in the two populations, but this was not unexpected given observed population frequencies of grey-morph males (XgY) and partial-grey-morph females (XGXg). The proportion of partial-grey-morph calves produced by black cows (XGXG) suggests that the reproductive success of grey-morph males was equal to that of black males, however, larger sample sizes are required to determine whether grey-morph males tend to have shorter sighting histories. The reproductive success of white-blaze males appeared similar to that of black males among whales off Argentina. There were significantly fewer white-blaze calves than expected off South Africa, which could be due to white-blaze males experiencing reduced reproductive success or to sighting blases that result in white-marked calves being misidentified as black calves. The relative frequencies of both types of dorsal color markings varied between the South African and Argentinian right whale populations, suggesting limited nuclear gene flow between these populations; analyses using other nuclear markers are under way to confirm the extent of gene flow. (+info)