Networks and pathways in pigmentation, health, and disease
Article first published online: 29 APR 2009
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine
Volume 1, Issue 3, pages 359–371, November/December 2009
How to Cite
Baxter, L. L., Loftus, S. K. and Pavan, W. J. (2009), Networks and pathways in pigmentation, health, and disease. WIREs Syst Biol Med, 1: 359–371. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.20
- Issue published online: 13 NOV 2009
- Article first published online: 29 APR 2009
Extensive studies of the biology of the pigment-producing cell (melanocyte) have resulted in a wealth of knowledge regarding the genetics and developmental mechanisms governing skin and hair pigmentation. The ease of identification of altered pigment phenotypes, particularly in mouse coat color mutants, facilitated early use of the pigmentary system in mammalian genetics and development. In addition to the large collection of developmental genetics data, melanocytes are of interest because their malignancy results in melanoma, a highly aggressive and frequently fatal cancer that is increasing in Caucasian populations worldwide. The genetic programs regulating melanocyte development, function, and malignancy are highly complex and only partially understood. Current research in melanocyte development and pigmentation is revealing new genes important in these processes and additional functions for previously known individual components. A detailed understanding of all the components involved in melanocyte development and function, including interactions with neighboring cells and response to environmental stimuli, will be necessary to fully comprehend this complex system. The inherent characteristics of pigmentation biology as well as the resources available to researchers in the pigment cell community make melanocytes an ideal cell type for analysis using systems biology approaches. In this review, the study of melanocyte development and pigmentation is considered as a candidate for systems biology-based analyses. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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