Advances in melanocyte basic science research

Dermatol Clin. 2007 Jul;25(3):283-91, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2007.04.010.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopterin / analogs & derivatives
  • Biopterin / physiology
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology
  • Diacylglycerol Kinase / physiology
  • Hormones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate / physiology
  • Melanins / biosynthesis
  • Melanocytes / enzymology
  • Melanocytes / physiology*
  • Melanosomes / physiology
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / physiology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Skin Pigmentation / physiology*
  • alpha-MSH / physiology


  • Hormones
  • Melanins
  • Biopterin
  • alpha-MSH
  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase
  • Diacylglycerol Kinase
  • sapropterin