Mitf is a transcription factor of the basic/helix-loop-helix/leucine-zipper family which is indispensable for development of melanocytes and the retinal pigment epithelium. Our previous work using Xenopus laevis as a model system suggested that Mitf regulates melanosome dispersal in vivo though whether this was via melanosome transport or melanophore dendricity was not obvious. To better understand the role of Mitf, we have now characterized neural tube cultures from wild-type Mitf-injected or a dominant-negative Mitf-injected embryos and compared them with controls. In vitro, lower levels of Mitf activity induced less dendritic melanophores with aggregated melanosomes, whereas melanophores overexpressing Mitf had an extensive dendritic morphology with dispersed melanosomes. Moreover, immunorfluoresence assays reveal that expression of a dominant-negative Mitf leads to decreased Rab27a expression. These results suggest that Mitf is involved in the regulation of melanosome transport and the level of dendricity in melanophores.
- Melanosome transport
- Neural tube culture
- Xenopus melanophore
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)