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Signaling for color change in melanophores: and a biosensor application
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Pharmacology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Melanophores are dark brown pigment cells located in the skin of fish, amphibia, reptiles, and many invertebrates. The color of the animal can change via rearrangement of pigment granules, melanosomes, in the cells. The dark melanophores can either hide colorful cells so that the animal appears dark, or let through colors from underneath. The animal regulates its colors and patterns via communicating nerve cells and hormones in the blood stream. It is nowadays well established that melatonin-stimulation of melanophores results in aggregation of melanosomes to the cell center and that the evident outcome is more transparent cells. It has previously been shown that the activity of serine and threonine kinases as well as phosphatases regulates the distribution of melanosomes in the cells.

We wanted to study if tyrosine phosphorylations were involved in the regulation of melanosome aggregation. Melatonin-stimulated signaling in the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, melanophores was examined. Melansome aggregation was accompanied by tyrosine phosphorylation as shown by immunoblots. Inhibition of tyrosine phosphorylation reduced melanosome aggregation by melatonin, and the phosphorylation most likely regulated pigment aggregation. Tyrosine phosphorylation of the protein was mediated via a Gi/o protein coupled receptor, probably the melatonin receptor Mel1c. The phosphorylation was most likely not a result of the classical Gi/o protein pathway, as Src-kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase seemed required for phosphorylation and melanosome aggregation. Two candidates for the phosphorylated protein were presented, talin and β-spectrin.

The possible involvement of nitric oxide in melanosome aggregation by melatonin was investigated. Nitric oxide appeared to be necessary for melanosome aggregation. The effect of nitric oxide synthase inhibition on melanosome aggregation was not mediated via changes in the tyrosine-phosphorylated protein. We speculated that nitric oxide could affect melanosome distribution via modifications of the actin cytoskeleton. The use of recombinant melanophores as a biosensor has also been examined. A human G protein coupled receptor, opioid receptor 3, was inserted into melanophores by electroporation. The transfected melanophores responded dose-dependently to opioids and an inhibitor of opioid receptors reduced the aggregation response. Future melanophore biosensors migh detect a variety of substances, such as narcotics, pheromones, odors, and tastes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2001. , 53 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 659
Keyword [en]
color change, melanophores, tyrosine, phosphorylations, melatonin, nitric oxide
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-5035ISBN: 91-7219-760-9OAI: diva2:20975
Public defence
2001-02-23, Föreläsningssal Elsa Brändström, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2001-03-14 Created: 2001-03-14 Last updated: 2015-09-18Bibliographically approved

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Karlsson, Annika M.
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