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Pharmacological characterization of loss of function mutations of the human melanocortin 1 receptor that are associated with red hair

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jonathan Rees


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Variation in skin color is the major host risk factor for melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Individuals with red hair show an increased ratio of phaeomelanin to eumelanin in both hair and skin. This ratio is regulated by the melanocortin (MC) 1 receptor. There are several common point mutations in the human MC1 receptor that are overrepresented in North European red-heads, and in individuals with pale skin. In order to determine the functional significance of these mutations, we expressed the Asp84Glu, Val92Met, Arg163Gln, and Asp294His variants of the human MC1 receptors in eukaryotic cells and determined their ability to bind α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH) peptides and increase intracellular cAMP. The mutants Asp84Glu and Asp294His showed a much lower response to α-MSH in cAMP and a slightly impaired ability to bind α-MSH, and the Val92Met mutant bound α-MSH with 100-fold lower affinity as compared with the wild-type. The Arg163Gln variant, widely found in some Asian populations, reached normal level of cAMP response but had just slightly lower potency for α-MSH in binding and second messenger studies. The results provide important pharmacological characterization of common MC1 receptor variants in various world populations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ringholm A, Klovins J, Rudzish R, Phillips S, Rees JL, Schioth HB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Year: 2004

Volume: 123

Issue: 5

Pages: 917-923

ISSN (print): 0022-202X

ISSN (electronic): 1523-1747

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-202X.2004.23444.x

PubMed id: 15482480


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