Mechanism of alpha-melanotropin action

Bull Schweiz Akad Med Wiss. 1978 Mar;34(1-3):99-111.


A structure-function study of alpha-melanotropin has shown that this tridecapeptide consists of two message sequences, (-Glu)-His-Phe-Arg-Trp- and -Gly-Lys-Pro-Val-NH2, and a potentiator sequence, Ac.Ser-Tyr-Ser-Met-(Glu-), when acting on its melanophore receptors. The key elements of the message, -Phe-Arg- and -Lys-Pro-, do not correspond exactly to those responsible for eliciting the effect in other tissues. It appears that alpha-MSH contains more information than would be necessary to interact with only one complementary receptor site; therefore, the topography of the hormone exposed to the binding site may be different on contact with the receptors of different target cells. To further investigate this aspect, new methods for the isolation and characterization of functional receptors must be developed. We are investigating the use of chemically well-defined, biologically active, covalent hormone-macromolecule complexes for this purpose. Another approach utilizes model receptors with a recognition pattern similar to that of the biological receptor, as described in this communication for certain highly specific antibodies.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Immune Sera
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones / analysis
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones / immunology
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones / metabolism*
  • Melanophores / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Immune Sera
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones