The process of melanogenesis in melanocytes and the transport of melanin in the form of melanosomes to the neighboring keratinocytes are the key steps in human skin pigmentation. Keratinocytes and melanocytes interact in intricate manner to maintain the homeostasis. The present study was designed to understand the role of cell-cell interaction through the gap junctions between melanocytes and keratinocytes on melanogenesis. We show that, inhibition of the gap junctional activity between human keratinocytes and melanocytes in a coculture system using gap junction blocker lowers the expression of key regulatory genes of melanogenesis such as tyrosinase and microphthalmiaassociated transcription factor (MITF). This was followed by concurrent decrease in tyrosinase protein levels and activity. Our results show the preliminary evidence for the regulation of melanogenesis in melanocytes through direct gap junctional communication by keratinocytes. Deciphering the mechanism and factors involved in the process would uncover the significance of gap junctions in melanogenesis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics