Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Skin Color Is Determined

Date:
February 27, 2008
Source:
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Summary:
Skin color is one of the most visible indicators that helps distinguish human appearance, and a new study provides more detail as to how one protein helps produce this wide palette. In 2005 researchers identified a gene called SLC24A5 as a key determinant of skin color. Scientists now confirm that the protein product of this gene (NCKX5) is an ion exchanger; it exchanges sodium for calcium across a membrane, regulated by potassium.

Skin color is one of the most visible indicators that helps distinguish human appearance, and a new study provides more detail as to how one protein helps produce this wide palette.

In 2005 researchers identified a gene called SLC24A5 as a key determinant of skin color. Rebecca Ginger and colleagues now confirm that the protein product of this gene (NCKX5) is an ion exchanger; it exchanges sodium for calcium across a membrane, regulated by potassium. But unlike other NCKX proteins, they found that NCKX5 is not present on the cell surface, but internally in a compartment known as the trans-Golgi network. This compartment is where new proteins and vesicles are processed, modified and sorted.

When the researchers knocked out NCKX5 in melanocytes (the skin cells that manufacture the melanin pigment), melanin production decreased dramatically. They also demonstrated that changing the ancestral amino acid (alanine) at position 111 to the European form associated with lighter skintone (threonine) reduced NCKX5's exchanger activity.

While they plan on teasing out the exact biological mechanism, Ginger and colleagues propose that NCKX5 could play a direct role in the trafficking decisions that influence the assembly of melanosomes, the specialized cell vesicles where melanin is produced. Alterations that increase or decrease NCKX5 effectiveness would be expected to influence total skin pigment production.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "How Skin Color Is Determined." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222155212.htm>.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (2008, February 27). How Skin Color Is Determined. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222155212.htm
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "How Skin Color Is Determined." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222155212.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins