Distinct cAMP Signaling Microdomains Differentially Regulate Melanosomal pH and Pigmentation

Maftuna Yusupova, Dalee Zhou, Jaewon You, Jeydi Gonzalez-Guzman, Megha B. Ghanta, Hong Pu, Zalfa Abdel-Malek, Qiuying Chen, Steven S. Gross, John D'Orazio, Shosuke Ito, Kazumasa Wakamatsu, Melissa L. Harris, Jonathan H. Zippin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


cAMP signaling is a well-established regulator of melanin synthesis. Two distinct cAMP signaling pathways—the transmembrane adenylyl cyclase pathway, activated primarily by the MC1R, and the soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) pathway—affect melanin synthesis. The sAC pathway affects melanin synthesis by regulating melanosomal pH, and the MC1R pathway affects melanin synthesis by regulating gene expression and post-translational modifications. However, whether MC1R genotype affects melanosomal pH is poorly understood. We now report that loss of function MC1R does not affect melanosomal pH. Thus, sAC signaling appears to be the only cAMP signaling pathway that regulates melanosomal pH. We also addressed whether MC1R genotype affects sAC-dependent regulation of melanin synthesis. Although sAC loss of function in wild-type human melanocytes stimulates melanin synthesis, sAC loss of function has no effect on melanin synthesis in MC1R nonfunctional human and mouse melanocytes or skin and hair melanin in e/e mice. Interestingly, activation of transmembrane adenylyl cyclases, which increases epidermal eumelanin synthesis in e/e mice, leads to enhanced production of eumelanin in sAC-knockout mice relative to that in sAC wild-type mice. Thus, MC1R- and sAC-dependent cAMP signaling pathways define distinct mechanisms that regulate melanosomal pH and pigmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2019-2029.e3
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 The Authors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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