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Keywords:

  • Melanocytes;
  • Co-culture;
  • Tyrosinase;
  • TRP 1;
  • TRP 2

Eumelanogenesis of human skin melanocytes requires at least three enzymes: tyrosinase, TRP 1, and TRP 2. The regulation of these enzymes on transcriptional level was detected in a semiquantitative attempt. The total RNA of melanocytes was reverse-transcripted and followed by a PCR with degenerated primers for all three enzymes. The amplification products were related to each other densitometrically. We examined five different culture conditions: 1) melanocytes in a popular phorbolester containing F-10-medium, 2) melanocytes in a co-culture medium with EGF, 3) melanocytes in a co-culture medium with high calcium, 4) melanocytes co-cultured with keratinocytes in EGF containing co-culture medium, and 5) melanocytes co-cultured with keratinocytes in co-culture medium with high calcium. Melanocytes cultured in phorbolester containing F-10-medium featured transcripts of tyrosinase, TRP 1, and TRP 2 in the ratio 45:45:10. The same results were obtained for melanocytes co-cultured with keratinocytes under the two different culture conditions. In melanocytes cultured alone in co-culture media only TRP 1-transcripts were present. It is likely that under co-culture conditions a keratinocyte-derived factor supports the transcription of all three enzymes. For melanocytes in the phorbolester-containing melanocyte medium a proteinkinase C dependent regulation of transcription seems possible.