Membrane-Associated Transporter Protein (MATP) Regulates Melanosomal pH and Influences Tyrosinase Activity


Bum-Ho Bin, Jinhyuk Bhin, Seung Ha Yang, Misun Shin, Yeon-Ju Nam, Dong-Hwa Choi, Dong Wook Shin, Ai-Young Lee, Daehee Hwang, Eun-Gyung Cho, Tae Ryong Lee,

Received: 30 August 2014; Accepted: 6 May 2015; Published: 9 June 2015.

The SLC45A2 gene encodes a Membrane-Associated Transporter Protein (MATP). Mutations of this gene cause oculocutaneous albinism type 4 (OCA4). However, the molecular mechanism of its action in melanogenesis has not been elucidated. Here, we discuss the role of MATP in melanin production. The SLC45A2 gene is highly enriched in human melanocytes and melanoma cell lines, and its protein, MATP, is located in melanosomes. The knockdown of MATP using siRNAs reduced melanin content and tyrosinase activity without any morphological change in melanosomes or the expression of melanogenesis-related proteins. Interestingly, the knockdown of MATP significantly lowered the melanosomal pH, as verified through DAMP analysis, suggesting that MATP regulates melanosomal pH and therefore affects tyrosinase activity. Finally, we found that the reduction of tyrosinase activity associated with the knockdown of MATP was readily recovered by copper treatment in the in vitro L-DOPA oxidase activity assay of tyrosinase. Considering that copper is an important element for tyrosinase activity and that its binding to tyrosinase depends on melanosomal pH, MATP may play an important role in regulating tyrosinase activity via controlling melanosomal pH.