Send to

Choose Destination
Cell. 2007 Mar 9;128(5):853-64.

Central role of p53 in the suntan response and pathologic hyperpigmentation.

Author information

Melanoma Program in Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


UV-induced pigmentation (suntanning) requires induction of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) secretion by keratinocytes. alpha-MSH and other bioactive peptides are cleavage products of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC). Here we provide biochemical and genetic evidence demonstrating that UV induction of POMC/MSH in skin is directly controlled by p53. Whereas p53 potently stimulates the POMC promoter in response to UV, the absence of p53, as in knockout mice, is associated with absence of the UV-tanning response. The same pathway produces beta-endorphin, another POMC derivative, which potentially contributes to sun-seeking behaviors. Furthermore, several instances of UV-independent pathologic pigmentation are shown to involve p53 "mimicking" the tanning response. p53 thus functions as a sensor/effector for UV pigmentation, which is a nearly constant environmental exposure. Moreover, this pathway is activated in numerous conditions of pathologic pigmentation and thus mimics the tanning response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center