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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Feb 7;301(2):610-6.

In situ and in vitro evidence for DCoH/HNF-1 alpha transcription of tyrosinase in human skin melanocytes.

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  • 1Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD7 1DP, UK.


Human epidermal melanocytes hold the full capacity for autocrine de novo synthesis/regulation/recycling of the essential cofactor 6-tetrahydrobiopterin (6BH(4)) for conversion of L-phenylalanine via phenylalanine hydroxylase to L-tyrosine and for production of L-Dopa via tyrosine hydroxylase to initiate both pigmentation and catecholamine synthesis in these neural crest-derived cells. Earlier we have demonstrated pterin-4a-carbinolamine dehydratase (PCD) mRNA and enzyme activities in epidermal melanocytes and keratinocytes. This protein dimerises also the transcription factor hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 (HNF-1), leading to activation of multiple genes. This study demonstrates for the first time DCoH/HNF-1 alpha expression and transcriptional activity in human epidermal melanocytes in vitro and in situ and identified tyrosinase, the key enzyme for pigmentation, as a new transcriptional target. Specific binding of DCoH/HNF-1 complex to the human tyrosinase promoter was confirmed by gel shift analysis. These results provide a novel mechanism in the regulation of skin pigmentation.

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