Thymidine dinucleotides induce S phase cell cycle arrest in addition to increased melanogenesis in human melanocytes
Doré, J. F.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology
472 - 477
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Although the induction of pigmentation following exposure of melanocytes to ultraviolet light in vivo and in vitro is well documented, the intracellular mechanisms involved in this response are not yet fully understood. Exposure to UV-B radiation leads to the production of DNA damage, mainly cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers, and it was recently suggested that the thymidine dinucleotide pTpT, mimicking small DNA fragments released in the course of excision repair mechanisms, could trigger melanin synthesis. We now report that the thymidine dinucleotide pTpT induces melanogenesis both in human normal adult melanocytes and in human melanoma cells. Thus, the SOS- like response suggested by Gilchrest's work to be evolutionary conserved, based primarily on work in murine cells and guinea pigs, is also apparently present in the human. Thymidine dinucleotide is non toxic to melanoma cells and does not induce apoptosis in these cells, but induces S phase cell cycle arrest and a proliferation slow down. Because thymidine excess in culture medium leads to the synchronization of cells in S phase, we investigated whether this phenomenon was involved in the increase in melanin synthesis. We show that melanin synthesis is specifically triggered by the dimeric form of the thymidine and not by the monomeric form pT. Thus, our data strongly support that thymidine dinucleotides pTpT mimic at least part of the effects of ultraviolet irradiation, and may hence represent an invaluable model in the study of the molecular events involved in melanogenesis induction triggered through DNA damage.
KeywordsHuman adult melanocytes