Accessory Proteins for Melanocortin Signaling

Attractin and Mahogunin


Address for correspondence: Gregory S. Barsh, Departments of Pediatrics and Genetics and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305. Voice: 650-723-5061; fax: 650-723-1399.


Abstract: Switching from eumelanin to pheomelanin synthesis during hair growth is accomplished by transient synthesis of Agouti protein, an inverse agonist for the melanocortin-1 receptor (Mc1r). The coat color mutations mahogany and mahoganoid prevent hair follicle melanocytes from responding to Agouti protein. The gene mutated in mahogany, which is also known as Attractin (Atrn), encodes a type I transmembrane protein that functions as an accessory receptor for Agouti protein. We have recently determined that the gene mutated in mahoganoid, which is also known as Mahogunin (Mgrn1), encodes an E3 ubiquitin ligase. Like Attractin, Mahogunin is conserved in invertebrate genomes, and its absence causes a pleiotropic phenotype that includes spongiform neurodegeneration.