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Exosomal miRNA derived from keratinocytes regulates pigmentation in melanocytes

Ying Liu, Linli Xue, Hang Gao, Lucheng Chang, Xiuju Yu, Zhiwei Zhu, Xiaoyan He, Jianjun Geng, Yanjun Dong, Hongquan Li, Liping Zhang, Haidong Wang
Journal of Dermatological Science 2019 March 12

BACKGROUND: Pigmentation is controlled by complex mechanisms. Evidence suggests that miRNAs can regulate pigmentation. However, the mechanism has not been fully elucidated. Objective In this study, we revealed a novel mechanism that regulates pigmentation involving exosomes, miRNAs and the crosstalk between keratinocytes and melanocytes.

METHODS: The expression and localization of exosome specific marker TSG101 in keratinocytes and melanocytes; Changes of melanin content in melanocytes after co-culture of exosome and melanocytes; Expression changes of target gene TYR and its related genes and inhibitory effect of miR-330-5p on pigmentation were studied by using various molecular biological techniques.

RESULTS: In this experiment, we used miR-330-5p in keratinocytes to verify the effect of keratinocyte derived exosome on melanocyte pigmentation. First, we found that keratinocytes secrete exosomes carrying miR-330-5p; moreover, greater miR-330-5p expression was found in exosomes derived from keratinocytes that overexpressed miR-330-5p. Second, we found that exosomes derived from keratinocytes with overexpression of miR-330-5p caused a significant increase in miR-330-5p in melanocytes. Finally, exosomes derived from keratinocytes that overexpressed miR-330-5p induced a significant decrease in the production of melanin and expression of TYR in melanocytes. Meanwhile, we overexpressed miR-330-5p in melanocytes, which also proved the inhibitory effect of miR-330-5p on pigmentation.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that keratinocytes crosstalk with melanocytes in the epidermal melanin unit via exosomal miRNAs. These studies reveal an important role of exosomes in melanocyte pigmentation, which opens a new pathway of melanogenesis.


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