The mouse pink-eyed dilution allele of the P-gene greatly inhibits eumelanin but not pheomelanin synthesis

Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2011 Feb;24(1):241-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-148X.2010.00783.x. Epub 2010 Oct 19.


The mouse pink-eyed dilution (p) locus is known to control eumelanin synthesis, melanosome morphology, and tyrosinase activity in melanocytes. However, it has not been fully determined whether the mutant allele, p affects pheomelanin synthesis. Effects of the p allele on eumelanin and phemelanin synthesis were investigated by chemical analysis of dorsal hairs of 5-week-old mice obtained from the F(2) generations (black, pink-eyed black, recessive yellow, pink-eyed recessive yellow, agouti, and pink-eyed agouti) between C57BL/10JHir (B10)-congenic pink-eyed black mice (B10-p/p) and recessive yellow (B10-Mc1r(e)/Mc1r(e)) or agouti (B10-A/A) mice. The eumelanin content was dramatically (>20-fold) decreased in pink-eyed black and pink-eyed agouti mice, whereas the pheomelanin content did not decrease in pink-eyed black, pink-eyed recessive yellow, or pink-eyed agouti mice compared to the corresponding P/- mice. These results suggest that the pink-eyed dilution allele greatly inhibits eumelanin synthesis, but not pheomelanin synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles*
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Female
  • Hair / metabolism
  • Male
  • Melanins / biosynthesis*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Congenic
  • Thiazoles / metabolism
  • Tyrosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Melanins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Thiazoles
  • pheomelanin
  • eumelanin
  • P protein, mouse
  • 2-n-propylthiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid
  • Tyrosine
  • 4-amino-3-hydroxyphenylalanine