What are melanocytes really doing all day long...?

Przemyslaw M. Plonka, Thierry Passeron, Michaela Brenner, Desmond J. Tobin, Shigeki Shibahara, Aaron Thomas, Andrzej Slominski, Ana Luisa Kadekaro, Dov Hershkovitz, Eva M.J. Peters, James J. Nordlund, Zalfa Abdel-malek, Kazuhisa Takeda, Ralf Paus, Jean Paul Ortonne, Vincent J. Hearing, Karin U. Schallreuter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

160 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Everyone knows and seems to agree that melanocytes are there to generate melanin - an intriguing, but underestimated multipurpose molecule that is capable of doing far more than providing pigment and UV protection to skin (1). What about the cell that generates melanin, then? Is this dendritic, neural crest-derived cell still serving useful (or even important) functions when no-one looks at the pigmentation of our skin and its appendages and when there is essentially no UV exposure? In other words, what do epidermal and hair follicle melanocytes do in their spare time - at night, under your bedcover? How much of the full portfolio of physiological melanocyte functions in mammalian skin has really been elucidated already? Does the presence or absence of melanoctyes matter for normal epidermal and/or hair follicle functions (beyond pigmentation and UV protection), and for skin immune responses? Do melanocytes even deserve as much credit for UV protection as conventional wisdom attributes to them? In which interactions do these promiscuous cells engage with their immediate epithelial environment and who is controlling whom? What lessons might be distilled from looking at lower vertebrate melanophores and at extracutaneous melanocytes in the endeavour to reveal the 'secret identity' of melanocytes? The current Controversies feature explores these far too infrequently posed, biologically and clinically important questions. Complementing a companion viewpoint essay on malignant melanocytes (2), this critical re-examination of melanocyte biology provides a cornucopia of old, but under-appreciated concepts and novel ideas on the slowly emerging complexity of physiological melanocyte functions, and delineates important, thought-provoking questions that remain to be definitively answered by future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-819
Number of pages21
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Volume18
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 28 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Melanocytes
Skin
Melanins
Hair Follicle
Pigments
Melanophores
Molecules
Skin Pigmentation
Neural Crest
Pigmentation
Vertebrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology

Cite this

Plonka, P. M., Passeron, T., Brenner, M., Tobin, D. J., Shibahara, S., Thomas, A., ... Schallreuter, K. U. (2009). What are melanocytes really doing all day long...? Experimental Dermatology, 18(9), 799-819. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00912.x

What are melanocytes really doing all day long...? / Plonka, Przemyslaw M.; Passeron, Thierry; Brenner, Michaela; Tobin, Desmond J.; Shibahara, Shigeki; Thomas, Aaron; Slominski, Andrzej; Kadekaro, Ana Luisa; Hershkovitz, Dov; Peters, Eva M.J.; Nordlund, James J.; Abdel-malek, Zalfa; Takeda, Kazuhisa; Paus, Ralf; Ortonne, Jean Paul; Hearing, Vincent J.; Schallreuter, Karin U.

In: Experimental Dermatology, Vol. 18, No. 9, 28.08.2009, p. 799-819.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Plonka, PM, Passeron, T, Brenner, M, Tobin, DJ, Shibahara, S, Thomas, A, Slominski, A, Kadekaro, AL, Hershkovitz, D, Peters, EMJ, Nordlund, JJ, Abdel-malek, Z, Takeda, K, Paus, R, Ortonne, JP, Hearing, VJ & Schallreuter, KU 2009, 'What are melanocytes really doing all day long...?', Experimental Dermatology, vol. 18, no. 9, pp. 799-819. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00912.x
Plonka PM, Passeron T, Brenner M, Tobin DJ, Shibahara S, Thomas A et al. What are melanocytes really doing all day long...? Experimental Dermatology. 2009 Aug 28;18(9):799-819. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00912.x
Plonka, Przemyslaw M. ; Passeron, Thierry ; Brenner, Michaela ; Tobin, Desmond J. ; Shibahara, Shigeki ; Thomas, Aaron ; Slominski, Andrzej ; Kadekaro, Ana Luisa ; Hershkovitz, Dov ; Peters, Eva M.J. ; Nordlund, James J. ; Abdel-malek, Zalfa ; Takeda, Kazuhisa ; Paus, Ralf ; Ortonne, Jean Paul ; Hearing, Vincent J. ; Schallreuter, Karin U. / What are melanocytes really doing all day long...?. In: Experimental Dermatology. 2009 ; Vol. 18, No. 9. pp. 799-819.
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