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The melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) is a G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) which plays a major role in controlling melanogenesis. A large body of evidence indicates that GPCRs are part of large protein complexes that are critical for their signal transduction properties. Among proteins which may affect MC1R signaling, neurofibromin (Nf1), a GTPase activating protein (GAP) for Ras, is of special interest as it regulates adenylyl cyclase activity and ERK signaling, two pathways involved in MC1R signaling. Moreover, mutations in this gene encoding Nf1 are responsible for neurofibromatosis type I, a disease inducing hyperpigmented flat skin lesions. Using co-immunoprecipitation and Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer experiments we demonstrated a physical interaction of Nf1 with MC1R. In particular, the GAP domain of Nf1 directly and constitutively interacts with MC1R in melanocytes. Pharmacologic and genetic approaches revealed that the GAP activity of Nf1 is important to regulate intracellular signaling pathways involved in melanogenesis and, consequently, melanogenic enzyme expression and melanin production. These finding shed new light on the understanding and cure of skin pigmentation disorders. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Wissem Deraredj Nadim, Shalina Hassanaly, Hélène Bénédetti, Claudine Kieda, Catherine Grillon, Severine Morisset-Lopez. The GTPase-activating protein-related domain of neurofibromin interacts with MC1R and regulates pigmentation-mediated signaling in human melanocytes. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2021 Jan 01;534:758-764

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PMID: 33187641

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