mc1r Pathway regulation of zebrafish melanosome dispersion

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Jennifer Richardson
  • Lundegaard, Pia Rengtved
  • Natalie L Reynolds
  • Julia R Dorin
  • David J Porteous
  • Ian J Jackson
  • E Elizabeth Patton

Zebrafish rapidly alter their pigmentation in response to environmental changes. For black melanocytes, this change is due to aggregation or dispersion of melanin in the cell. Dispersion and aggregation are controlled by intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels, which increase upon stimulation by alpha melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) or reduce with melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH). In mammals and birds, the melanocortin-1-receptor (MC1R) responds to MSH, and stimulates the synthesis of black eumelanin. While MSH-cAMP signaling stimulates melanogenesis in mammals, and melanosome dispersal in cold-blood vertebrates, the pathway components are highly conserved. However, it has only been assumed that mc1r mediates melanosome dispersal in fish. Here, using morpholino oligonucleotides designed to knockdown mc1r expression, we find that mc1r morphants are unable to disperse melanosomes when grown in dark conditions. We also use chemical modifiers of the cAMP pathway, and find an unexpected response to the specific phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitor, rolipram, in melanosome dispersal. When treated with the drug, melanosomes fail to fully disperse in dark conditions, despite presumed increased levels of cAMP, and in contrast to the effects of the nonselective PDE inhibitor, 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine. In conclusion, we demonstrate a direct role for mc1r in zebrafish melanosome dispersal in response to background, and use chemical modification of this pathway to uncover a possible new layer of regulation in melanosome dispersal in zebrafish.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)289-95
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

    Research areas

  • 1-Methyl-3-isobutylxanthine, Animals, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Gene Silencing, Melanins, Melanocytes, Melanosomes, Receptor, Melanocortin, Type 2, Rolipram, Zebrafish

ID: 154564710