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Dermatol Clin. 2007 Jul;25(3):283-91, vii.

Advances in melanocyte basic science research.

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


This article focuses on recent advances in melanocyte biology and physiology. The major function of this neural crest-derived cell is the production of melanins. A "three enzyme theory" in the initiation of pigmentation is put forward and backed up by recent findings. A receptor-independent role for alpha-MSH and the cofactor (6R)-l-erythro-5,6,7,8-terahydrobiopterin (6BH(4)) in the control of tyrosinase is described. The importance of intramelanosomal pH for melanogenesis is covered. Finally, the redundancy of the cAMP and IP3/DAG/calcium signal in melanocytes together with the downstream events are highlighted. The main message of this article is that the intracellular H(2)O(2)- redox-equilibrium controls melanocyte function in a concentration-dependent manner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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