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Role of GTP-CHI links PAH and TH in melanin synthesis in silkworm, Bombyx mori.

Gene (2015-05-11)
Ping Chen, Jiying Wang, Haiyin Li, Yan Li, Peng Chen, Tian Li, Xi Chen, Junjie Xiao, Liang Zhang

In insects, pigment patterns are formed by melanin, ommochromes, and pteridines. Here, the effects of pteridine synthesis on melanin formation were studied using 4th instar larvae of a wild-type silkworm strain, dazao (Bombyx mori), with normal color and markings. Results from injected larvae and in vitro integument culture indicated that decreased activity of guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase I (GTP-CH I, a rate-limiting enzyme for pteridine synthesis), lowers BH4 (6R-l-erythro-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrobiopterin, a production correlated with GTP-CH I activity) levels and eliminates markings and coloration. The conversion of phenylalanine and tyrosine to melanin was prevented when GTP-CH I was inhibited. When BH4 was added, phenylalanine was converted to tyrosine, and the tyrosine concentration increased. Tyrosine was then converted to melanin to create normal markings and coloration. Decreasing GTP-CH I activity did not affect L-DOPA (3,4-l-dihydroxyphenylalanine). GTP-CH I affected melanin synthesis by generating the BH4 used in two key reaction steps: (1) conversion of phenylalanine to tyrosine by PAH (phenylalanine hydroxylase) and (2) conversion of tyrosine to L-DOPA by TH (tyrosine hydroxylase). Expression profiles of BmGTPCH Ia, BmGTPCH Ib, BmTH, and BmPAH in the integument were consistent with the current findings.

Product Number
Product Description

DL-Tyrosine, 99%
6,7-Dihydroxycoumarin, 98%
DL-Phenylalanine, ReagentPlus®, 99%
3,4-Dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine, ≥98% (TLC)