Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor modulates expression of NADPH oxidase type 4: a negative regulator of melanogenesis
Liu, GS and Peshavariya, H and Higuchi, M and Brewer, AC and Chang, CW and Chan, EC and Dusting, GJ, Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor modulates expression of NADPH oxidase type 4: a negative regulator of melanogenesis, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 52, (9) pp. 1835-1843. ISSN 0891-5849 (2012) [Refereed Article]
How signaling via reactive oxygen species (ROS) influences skin pigmentation is unclear. We have investigated how NADPH oxidase-derived ROS modulates the expression of the key pigment "melanin" synthesizing enzymes in B16 mouse melanoma cells. A melanin inducer α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) caused ROS generation that was inhibited by the NADPH oxidase inhibitor Diphenyleneiodonium (DPI) and was insensitive to antagonists of other ROS-producing enzyme systems including mitochondrial enzymes, cycloxygenase, and xanthine oxidase. NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4) was found to be the most abundant isoform expressed in B16 cells, and its gene levels, as well as ROS generation, were enhanced by α-MSH. Interestingly, silencing Nox4 gene expression with Nox4 siRNA augmented melanin formation under basal conditions and after α-MSH stimulation, demonstrating that constitutive or stimulated Nox4-dependent ROS inhibits melanin formation. This process may be mediated by targeting the promoter region of a melanin synthesizing enzyme tyrosinase, because Nox4 siRNA enhanced tyrosinase promoter activity. Moreover, inhibition of tyrosinase mRNA expression in Nox4 siRNA-treated cells by blocking de novo mRNA and protein synthesis with actinomycin D and cycloheximide respectively indicates that Nox4 repression induces melanogenesis by increasing tyrosinase gene expression. We also found that α-MSH activated its downstream signal transducer microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) to stimulate Nox4 gene expression. We thus identified a novel mechanism by MITF signaling that in turn stimulates Nox4 to drive ROS generation, thereby repressing melanin synthesis. Such sequence of actions appears to act as an internal feedback mechanism to fine-tune melanin synthesis in response to exogenous challenges such as UV radiation.