Mel1c Mediated Monochromatic Light-Stimulated IGF-I Synthesis through the Intracellular G α q/PKC/ERK Signaling Pathway

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Apr 4;20(7):1682. doi: 10.3390/ijms20071682.


Previous studies have demonstrated that monochromatic light affects plasma melatonin (MEL) levels, which in turn regulates hepatic insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) secretion via the Mel1c receptor. However, the intracellular signaling pathway initiated by Mel1c remains unclear. In this study, newly hatched broilers, including intact, sham operation, and pinealectomy groups, were exposed to either white (WL), red (RL), green (GL), or blue (BL) light for 14 days. Experiments in vivo showed that GL significantly promoted plasma MEL formation, which was accompanied by an increase in the MEL receptor, Mel1c, as well as phosphorylated extracellular regulated protein kinases (p-ERK1/2), and IGF-I expression in the liver, compared to the other light-treated groups. In contrast, this GL stimulation was attenuated by pinealectomy. Exogenous MEL elevated the hepatocellular IGF-I level, which is consistent with increases in cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), Gαq, phosphorylated protein kinase C (p-PKC), and p-ERK1/2 expression. However, the Mel1c selective antagonist prazosin suppressed the MEL-induced expression of IGF-I, Gαq, p-PKC, and p-ERK1/2, while the cAMP concentration was barely affected. In addition, pretreatment with Ym254890 (a Gαq inhibitor), Go9863 (a PKC inhibitor), and PD98059 (an ERK1/2 inhibitor) markedly attenuated MEL-stimulated IGF-I expression and p-ERK1/2 activity. These results indicate that Mel1c mediates monochromatic GL-stimulated IGF-I synthesis through intracellular Gαq/PKC/ERK signaling.

Keywords: Gαq; IGF-I; extracellular regulated protein kinases; melatonin; monochromatic light; protein kinase C.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gq-G11 / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Light
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • Melatonin / metabolism
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Receptors, Melatonin
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Protein Kinase C
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gq-G11
  • Melatonin