Melanosomal dynamics assessed with a live-cell fluorescent melanosomal marker.
ABSTRACT: Melanocytes present in skin and other organs synthesize and store melanin pigment within membrane-delimited organelles called melanosomes. Exposure of human skin to ultraviolet radiation (UV) stimulates melanin production in melanosomes, followed by transfer of melanosomes from melanocytes to neighboring keratinocytes. Melanosomal function is critical for protecting skin against UV radiation, but the mechanisms underlying melanosomal movement and transfer are not well understood. Here we report a novel fluorescent melanosomal marker, which we used to measure real-time melanosomal dynamics in live human epidermal melanocytes (HEMs) and transfer in melanocyte-keratinocyte co-cultures. A fluorescent fusion protein of Ocular Albinism 1 (OA1) localized to melanosomes in both B16-F1 cells and HEMs, and its expression did not significantly alter melanosomal distribution. Live-cell tracking of OA1-GFP-tagged melanosomes revealed a bimodal kinetic profile, with melanosomes exhibiting combinations of slow and fast movement. We also found that exposure to UV radiation increased the fraction of melanosomes exhibiting fast versus slow movement. In addition, using OA1-GFP in live co-cultures, we monitored melanosomal transfer using time-lapse microscopy. These results highlight OA1-GFP as a specific and effective melanosomal marker for live-cell studies, reveal new aspects of melanosomal dynamics and transfer, and are relevant to understanding the skin's physiological response to UV radiation.
Project description:The SLC45A2 gene encodes a Membrane-Associated Transporter Protein (MATP). Mutations of this gene cause oculocutaneous albinism type 4 (OCA4). However, the molecular mechanism of its action in melanogenesis has not been elucidated. Here, we discuss the role of MATP in melanin production. The SLC45A2 gene is highly enriched in human melanocytes and melanoma cell lines, and its protein, MATP, is located in melanosomes. The knockdown of MATP using siRNAs reduced melanin content and tyrosinase activity without any morphological change in melanosomes or the expression of melanogenesis-related proteins. Interestingly, the knockdown of MATP significantly lowered the melanosomal pH, as verified through DAMP analysis, suggesting that MATP regulates melanosomal pH and therefore affects tyrosinase activity. Finally, we found that the reduction of tyrosinase activity associated with the knockdown of MATP was readily recovered by copper treatment in the in vitro L-DOPA oxidase activity assay of tyrosinase. Considering that copper is an important element for tyrosinase activity and that its binding to tyrosinase depends on melanosomal pH, MATP may play an important role in regulating tyrosinase activity via controlling melanosomal pH.
Project description:Melanosomes are a class of lysosome-related organelles produced by melanocytes. Biogenesis of melanosomes requires the transport of melanin-synthesizing enzymes from tubular recycling endosomes to maturing melanosomes. The SNARE proteins involved in these transport or fusion steps have been poorly studied. We found that depletion of syntaxin 13 (STX13, also known as STX12), a recycling endosomal Qa-SNARE, inhibits pigment granule maturation in melanocytes by rerouting the melanosomal proteins such as TYR and TYRP1 to lysosomes. Furthermore, live-cell imaging and electron microscopy studies showed that STX13 co-distributed with melanosomal cargo in the tubular-vesicular endosomes that are closely associated with the maturing melanosomes. STX family proteins contain an N-terminal regulatory domain, and deletion of this domain in STX13 increases both the SNARE activity in vivo and melanosome cargo transport and pigmentation, suggesting that STX13 acts as a fusion SNARE in melanosomal trafficking pathways. In addition, STX13-dependent cargo transport requires the melanosomal R-SNARE VAMP7, and its silencing blocks the melanosome maturation, reflecting a defect in endosome-melanosome fusion. Moreover, we show mutual dependency between STX13 and VAMP7 in regulating their localization for efficient cargo delivery to melanosomes.
Project description:Vesicular and tubular transport intermediates regulate organellar cargo dynamics. Transport carrier release involves local and profound membrane remodeling before fission. Pinching the neck of a budding tubule or vesicle requires mechanical forces, likely exerted by the action of molecular motors on the cytoskeleton. Here, we show that myosin VI, together with branched actin filaments, constricts the membrane of tubular carriers that are then released from melanosomes, the pigment containing lysosome-related organelles of melanocytes. By combining superresolution fluorescence microscopy, correlative light and electron microscopy, and biochemical analyses, we find that myosin VI motor activity mediates severing by constricting the neck of the tubule at specific melanosomal subdomains. Pinching of the tubules involves the cooperation of the myosin adaptor optineurin and the activity of actin nucleation machineries, including the WASH and Arp2/3 complexes. The fission and release of these tubules allows for the export of components from melanosomes, such as the SNARE VAMP7, and promotes melanosome maturation and transfer to keratinocytes. Our data reveal a new myosin VI- and actin-dependent membrane fission mechanism required for organelle function.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Melanosomes are specialized membrane-surrounded organelles, which are involved in the synthesis, storage and transport of melanin. Glycoprotein (transmembrane) non-metastatic melanoma protein b (GPNMB), a melanosome-specific structural protein, shares significant amino acid sequence homology with Pmel-17. Proteomic analysis demonstrated that GPNMB is present in all stages (I-IV) of melanosomes. However, little is known about the role of GPNMB in melanosomes. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using real-time quantitative PCR, Western blotting and immunofluorescence analysis, we demonstrated that the expression of GPNMB in PIG1 melanocytes was up-regulated by ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Transmission electron microscopy analysis showed that the total number of melanosomes in PIG1 melanocytes was sharply reduced by GPNMB-siRNA transfection. Simultaneously, the expression levels of tyrosinase (Tyr), tyrosinase related protein 1 (Trp1), Pmel17/gp100 and ocular albinism type 1 protein (OA1) were all significantly attenuated. But the expression of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) was up-regulated. Intriguingly, in GPNMB silenced PIG1 melanocytes, UVB radiation sharply reduced MITF expression. CONCLUSION: Our present work revealed that the GPNMB was critical for the formation of melanosomes. And GPNMB expression down-regulation attenuated melanosome formation in a MITF-independent fashion.
Project description:Melanosomes are melanin-containing organelles that provide pigmentation and protection from solar UV radiation to the skin. In melanocytes, melanosomes mature and traffic to dendritic tips, where they are transferred to adjacent epidermal keratinocytes through pathways that involve microtubule networks and the actin cytoskeleton. However, the role of scaffold proteins in these processes is poorly understood. Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) is a scaffold protein that regulates microtubule stability and F-actin dynamics. Here we show that ILK is necessary for normal trafficking of melanosomes along microtubule tracks. In the absence of ILK, immature melanosomes are not retained in perinuclear regions, and mature melanosome trafficking along microtubule tracks is impaired. These deficits can be attenuated by microtubule stabilization. Microtubules are also necessary for the formation of dendrites in melanocytes, and Ilk inactivation reduces melanocyte dendricity. Activation of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) interferes with microtubule assembly. Significantly, inhibition of GSK-3 activity or exogenous expression of the GSK-3 substrate collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2) in ILK-deficient melanocytes restored dendricity. ILK is also required for normal melanin transfer, and GSK-3 inhibition in melanocytes partially restored melanin transfer to neighboring keratinocytes. Thus, our work shows that ILK is a central modulator of melanosome movements in primary epidermal melanocytes and identifies ILK and GSK-3 as important modulators of melanin transfer to keratinocytes, a key process for epidermal UV photoprotection.
Project description:Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) is a group of disorders characterized by the malformation of lysosome-related organelles, such as pigment cell melanosomes. Three of nine characterized HPS subtypes result from mutations in subunits of BLOC-2, a protein complex with no known molecular function. In this paper, we exploit melanocytes from mouse HPS models to place BLOC-2 within a cargo transport pathway from recycling endosomal domains to maturing melanosomes. In BLOC-2-deficient melanocytes, the melanosomal protein TYRP1 was largely depleted from pigment granules and underwent accelerated recycling from endosomes to the plasma membrane and to the Golgi. By live-cell imaging, recycling endosomal tubules of wild-type melanocytes made frequent and prolonged contacts with maturing melanosomes; in contrast, tubules from BLOC-2-deficient cells were shorter in length and made fewer, more transient contacts with melanosomes. These results support a model in which BLOC-2 functions to direct recycling endosomal tubular transport intermediates to maturing melanosomes and thereby promote cargo delivery and optimal pigmentation.
Project description:Intracellular organelles mediate complex cellular functions that often require ion transport across their membranes. Melanosomes are organelles responsible for the synthesis of the major mammalian pigment melanin. Defects in melanin synthesis result in pigmentation defects, visual deficits, and increased susceptibility to skin and eye cancers. Although genes encoding putative melanosomal ion transporters have been identified as key regulators of melanin synthesis, melanosome ion transport and its contribution to pigmentation remain poorly understood. Here we identify two-pore channel 2 (TPC2) as the first reported melanosomal cation conductance by directly patch-clamping skin and eye melanosomes. TPC2 has been implicated in human pigmentation and melanoma, but the molecular mechanism mediating this function was entirely unknown. We demonstrate that the vesicular signaling lipid phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate PI(3,5)P2 modulates TPC2 activity to control melanosomal membrane potential, pH, and regulate pigmentation.
Project description:Ocular Albinism type 1 (OA1) is a disease caused by mutations in the OA1 gene and characterized by the presence of macromelanosomes in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) as well as abnormal crossing of the optic axons at the optic chiasm. We showed in our previous studies in mice that Oa1 activates specifically G?i3 in its signaling pathway and thus, hypothesized that a constitutively active G?i3 in the RPE of Oa1-/- mice might keep on the Oa1 signaling cascade and prevent the formation of macromelanosomes. To test this hypothesis, we have generated transgenic mice that carry the constitutively active G?i3 (Q204L) protein in the RPE of Oa1-/- mice and are now reporting the effects that the transgene produced on the Oa1-/- RPE phenotype.Transgenic mice carrying RPE-specific expression of the constitutively active G?i3 (Q204L) were generated by injecting fertilized eggs of Oa1-/- females with a lentivirus containing the G?i3 (Q204L) cDNA. PCR, Southern blots, Western blots and confocal microscopy were used to confirm the presence of the transgene in the RPE of positive transgenic mice. Morphometrical analyses were performed using electron microscopy to compare the size and number of melanosomes per RPE area in putative Oa1-/-, G?i3 (Q204L) transgenic mice with those of wild-type NCrl and Oa1-/- mice.We found a correlation between the presence of the constitutively active G?i3 (Q204L) transgene and the rescue of the normal phenotype of RPE melanosomes in Oa1-/-, G?i3 (Q204L) mice. These mice have higher density of melanosomes per RPE area and a larger number of small melanosomes than Oa1-/- mice, and their RPE phenotype is similar to that of wild-type mice.Our results show that a constitutively active G?i3 protein can by-pass the lack of Oa1 protein in Oa1-/- mice and consequently rescue the RPE melanosomal phenotype.
Project description:Multidrug resistance mechanisms underlying the intractability of malignant melanomas remain largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that the development of multidrug resistance in melanomas involves subcellular sequestration of intracellular cytotoxic drugs such as cis-diaminedichloroplatinum II (cisplatin; CDDP). CDDP is initially sequestered in subcellular organelles such as melanosomes, which significantly reduces its nuclear localization when compared with nonmelanoma/KB-3-1 epidermoid carcinoma cells. The melanosomal accumulation of CDDP remarkably modulates melanogenesis through a pronounced increase in tyrosinase activity. The altered melanogenesis manifested an approximately 8-fold increase in both intracellular pigmentation and extracellular transport of melanosomes containing CDDP. Thus, our experiments provide evidence that melanosomes contribute to the refractory properties of melanoma cells by sequestering cytotoxic drugs and increasing melanosome-mediated drug export. Preventing melanosomal sequestration of cytotoxic drugs by inhibiting the functions of melanosomes may have great potential as an approach to improving the chemosensitivity of melanoma cells.
Project description:Many approaches have been tried to establish assays for melanosome transfer to keratinocytes. In this report, we describe and summarize various novel attempts to label melanosomes in search of a reliable, specific, reproducible and quantitative assay system. We tried to fluorescently label melanosomes by transfection of GFP-labeled melanosomal proteins and by incubation of melanocytes with fluorescent melanin intermediates or homologues. In most cases a weak cytoplasmic fluorescence was perceived, which was probably because of incorrect sorting or deficient incorporation of the fluorescent protein and different localization. We were able to label melanosomes via incorporation of 14C-thiouracil into melanin. Consequently, we tried to develop an assay to separate keratinocytes with transferred radioactivity from melanocytes after co-culture. Differential trypsinization and different magnetic bead separation techniques were tested with unsatisfactory results. An attempt was also made to incorporate fluorescent thiouracil, since this would allow cells to be separated by FACS. In conclusion, different methods to measure pigment transfer between donor melanocytes and acceptor keratinocytes were thoroughly examined. This information could give other researchers a head start in the search for a melanosome transfer assay with said qualities to better understand pigment transfer.