Project Title: The regulation of mechanisms of melanin distribution in human skin
Thematic Area: Skin & Hair Pigmentation
Focus of Research: Pigmentation
Melanin synthesized by skin melanocytes is transferred to surrounding keratinocytes to provide key UVR protection. Most melanin is detectable only in the proliferative epidermis basal layer and only sparsely distributed in the stratifying epidermis. To date this histological pattern has been interpreted as evidence of 'melanin degradation' in suprabasal layers in absence of any no formal evidence that melanin can be degraded in vivo.
Our project reassesses melanin is distribution in human skin, as its location is important for skin cancer protection. Early findings suggest that most melanin is inherited only by the non-differentiating daughter cell, post-progenitor keratinocyte mitosis, via asymmetric organelle inheritance – so far unique in human cell biology.
Funded by: Walgreen-Boots-Alliance
PI: Desmond Tobin
Other Group/team members: Dr Irene Castellana Pellicena, Dr Mike Bell,Ms Clare O’Connor
Project Duration: September 2018- September 2020