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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1998 Dec 30;253(3):761-7.

Molecular interactions within the melanogenic complex: formation of heterodimers of tyrosinase and TRP1 from B16 mouse melanoma.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, University of Murcia, Spain.


Melanin synthesis in mammals is catalyzed by three structurally related, membrane-bound proteins, tyrosinase, and the tyrosinase-related proteins 1 and 2 (TRP1 and TRP2). Current evidence suggests that in vivo these proteins may form a multienzyme complex. However, neither the precise composition of the complex, nor the specific interactions between its components have been characterized. This study used purified preparations of tyrosinase and TRP1 to analyze their interactions in non ionic detergent solution. Purified tyrosinase and TRP1 behaved as homodimers as judged by gel filtration chromatography and electrophoresis. Upon mixing of the purified proteins, the preferential formation of heterodimers was detected by: i) coelution in gel filtration chromatography with a shift to a common partition coefficient for both proteins, and ii) the occurrence of fluorescent energy transfer between fluorescein-labeled tyrosinase and rhodamine-labeled TRP1. However, the formation of heterodimers did not cause changes in the tyrosine hydroxylase activity of the enzymes, at least under standard assay conditions. Thus, tyrosinase and TRP1 interact strongly and specifically in detergent solution to form an heterodimer that might contribute to the formation of the melanogenic complex.

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