Protein Puts The Brakes On Melanin Production In The Eyes, Skin And Hair

Posted: May 30 2016, 9:51am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Protein Puts the Brakes on Melanin Production in the Eyes, Skin and Hair
Green fluorescent protein marks where the protein TPC2 is located in a melaonsome. Credit: Oancea et. al./Brown University
  • Proteins put the Kibosh on Melanin Production in the Eyes, Skin and Hair

It has been found that proteins put the kibosh on melanin production in the eyes, skin and hair.

Sometime back, the experts learnt of a molecular growth mechanism that aided melanin production. Today, however, they have also discovered a series of brakes for melanin output.

This increases our knowledge of eye, skin and hair color in human beings. Also, a cure for albinism may lie in the future thanks to the current research. The study was published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

Pigmentation is stopped due to a protein called TPC2. This protein eases the way for positive sodium ions to flow out of melanosomes. These are the pigment-producing cavities in the cells.

When TPC2 lets ions out of cells, the inner environment of the melanosomes becomes acidic in nature. This puts the screws to the enzyme responsibe for melanin output. TPC2 acts in a special manner in these melanosomes.

This provides us with vital information regarding the conditions of health and disease in the human body. Especially, the condition of albinism tends to lead to eyesight issues and the chances of skin and eye cancer to increase considerably in the afflicted individuals.

The melanin in the body aids the DNA from contracting mutations from the UV rays of the sun. For a long time, the researchers had no idea of how melanin functioned in the human body.

It remained a mystery of history. Yet today, we have come a long way and know so much more regarding not only the human body but the mind as well.

An ion channel termed OCA2 doubled melanin production by reducing acidity. Actually, both TPC2 and OCA2 tend to counterbalance each other in the environment of the human body.

Having more than one ion channel will lead to cures for albinism and other skin, eye and hair diseases. Two mutations in the TPC2 genetic structure were found to be related to fair skin and light hair.

Mice and frogs were used in the interventionist experiments that the researchers engaged in. Electric current was applied to the melanosomes. This clearly helped the experts gain more clearer knowledge regarding melanin production and conservation.

It is a leap of faith from animals to humans, but that is the way science works. The rest of the pigment scenario is pretty complex. It shows that the body is capable of miracles in its internal working situation. By gaining a thorough understanding of these ins and outs of the body, many diseases could be conquered in the future.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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