W. Chantarawong, et al. “Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor as the molecular target of cadmium toxicity in human melanocytes.” Biochemical and biophysical research communications, vol. 454,4 (2014): 594-9. (ISI Impact factor: 2.559; Q1)
Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor as the molecular target of cadmium toxicity in human melanocytes
Dietary intake of cadmium is inevitable, causing age-related increase in cadmium accumulation in many organs, including hair, choroid and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Cadmium has been implicated in the pathogenesis of hearing loss and macular degeneration. The functions of cochlea and retina are maintained by melanocytes and RPE, respectively, and the differentiation of these pigment cells is regulated by microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF). In the present study, we explored the potential toxicity of cadmium in the cochlea and retina by using cultured human melanocytes and human RPE cell lines. MITF consists of multiple isoforms, including melanocyte-specific MITF-M and widely expressed MITF-H. Levels of MITF-M protein and its mRNA in human epidermal melanocytes and HMV-II melanoma cells were decreased significantly by cadmium. In parallel with the MITF reduction, mRNA levels of tyrosinase, the key enzyme of melanin biosynthesis that is regulated by MITF-M, were also decreased. In RPE cells, however, the levels of total MITF protein, constituting mainly MITF-H, were not decreased by cadmium. We thus identify MITF-M as the molecular target of cadmium toxicity in melanocytes, thereby accounting for the increased risk of disability from melanocyte malfunction, such as hearing and vision loss among people with elevated cadmium exposure.