Post-Transcriptional Regulation of Neurofibromin Level in Cultured Human Melanocytes in Response to Growth Factors

Griesser, Johann; Kaufmann, Dieter; Maier, Bernd; Mailhammer, Reinhard; Kuehl, Philippa; Krone, Winfrid
March 1997
Journal of Investigative Dermatology;Mar1997, Vol. 108 Issue 3, p275
Academic Journal
Among the symptoms that characterize neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) are pigmentation anomalies such as café au lait spots. It has been suggested that the reduction of the neurofibromin level in the epidermis of NF1 patients is responsible for the observed signs such as altered melanogenesis and altered density of melanocytes. Our studies show that in cultured normal human melanocytes, the neurofibromin level can be varied in vitro over a wide range by using different culture conditions. The influence of factors that control differentiation and proliferation of melanocytes on neurofibromin levels was studied. Immunoprecipitation followed by western blotting showed a 3- to 4-fold increase of neurofibromin after stimulation by PMA or bFGF, respectively, and a 1.5-fold increase in cells stimulated with steel factor. The increase of neurofibromin was not paralleled by a higher NFl mRNA level as proved by northern blotting. Pulse-chase experiments with 35S-labeled melanocytes revealed an approximately 3-fold increase in the half-life of neurofibromin in bFGF- or PMA-stimulated cells compared to controls. These results indicate that the neurofibromin level of cultured melanocytes can be regulated by a mechanism independent of NF1 gene transcription and translation, which might influence the degradation rate of the protein.


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