Macelignan inhibits melanosome transfer mediated by protease-activated receptor-2 in keratinocytes

Eun Jung Choi, Young Gyu Kang, Jaekyung Kim, Jae Kwan Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Skin pigmentation is the result of melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes. Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) is a key mediator of melanosome transfer, which occurs as the melanocyte extends its dendrite toward surrounding keratinocytes that take up melanosomes by phagocytosis. We investigated the effects of macelignan isolated from Myristica fragrans HOUTT. (nutmeg) on melanosome transfer and the regulation of PAR-2 in human keratinocytes (HaCaT). HaCaT cells stimulated by the PAR-2-activating peptide Ser-Leu-Ile-Gly-Arg-Leu-NH2 (SLIGRL) were treated with macelignan; PAR-2 expression was then determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Western blot, and immunocytochemistry. We evaluated the effects of macelignan on calcium mobilization and keratinocyte phagocytosis. In addition, B16F10 melanoma cells and keratinocytes were co-cultured to assess the effects of macelignan on prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) secretion and subsequent dendrite formation. Macelignan decreased HaCaT PAR-2 mRNA and protein levels in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, macelignan markedly reduced intracellular calcium mobilization and significantly downregulated keratinocyte phagocytosis, as shown by decreased ingestion of Escherichia coli bioparticles and fluorescent microspheres. In co-culture experiments, macelignan reduced keratinocyte PGE2 secretion, thereby preventing dendrite formation in B16F10 melanoma cells compared with SLIGRL-treated controls. Macelignan inhibits melanosome transfer by downregulating PAR-2, thereby reducing keratinocyte phagocytosis and PGE 2 secretion, which in turn inhibits dendrite formation in B16F10 melanoma cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that macelignan could be used as a natural depigmenting agent to ameliorate hyperpigmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-754
Number of pages7
JournalBiological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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