Ultraviolet light (UV) radiation causes skin-tanning, which is thought to be mediated by stimulating the release of melanogenic factors from keratinocytes as well as other cells. Nitric oxide (NO) has been reported to be generated after UV radiation and to stimulate melanocytes as one of the melanogens. In a previous experiment by another group on melanogenesis induced by NO, increases in both tyrosinase activity and tyrosinase protein levels were observed after daily stimulation of NO for 4 days. In the present study, we investigated tyrosinase gene expression within the first 24 hr of NO-induced melanogenesis. Tyrosinase mRNA expression was found to be induced 2 hr after a single treatment with S-nitroso-N-acetyl-L-arginine. An increase of tyrosinase activity was also detected time-dependently within the 24-hr period, accompanied by an increase of tyrosinase protein levels. The induction of mRNA expression was suppressed by a cyclic guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent protein kinase (cGMP/PKG) inhibitor. These results suggest that the enhancement of tyrosinase gene expression via the cGMP pathway may be a primary mechanism for NO-induced melanogenesis.