Posts Tagged ‘red-headed’

Reason Why People with Red Hair Have a Higher Risk of Developing Melanoma?

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

logo1267406_mdA new research study published in Molecular Cell concluded that  a persons skin pigment, which determines hair color and skin tone, is influenced by the melanocortin-l (MClR) gene receptor. and those with red hair have a mutation in MClR accounting for the red hair. This same MRlC mutation also promotes an important cancer-causing pathway and helps to explains the molecular mechanism that underlies redheads well-known risk of developing melanoma

The researchers found from cell culture and mouse model research that under normal circumstances MClR was binding to PTEN, a well known tumor suppressor gene. PTEN acts to safeguard against cancer,but in those without PTEN, the end result is elevated signaling in the cancer causing P13/AKt pathway. Researchers then demonstrated that MClR-RHC mutations found in red-haired people lacked this protective mechanism., “As a result, upon UVB exposure (that can damage DNA and lead to melanoma), we saw an increased destruction of PTEN in the mutated pigment cells.” They also found that in the same MCiR/RHC pigment cells, elevated P13K/Akt activity was boosting cell proliferation and synchronizing with another well-known cancer mutation in the BRAF gene (found in close to 70% of all melanoma) to accelerate cancer development. Other researchers have also recently found that expression of the BRAF gene mutation in the melanocytes of mice carrying a mutant MClR gene led to a high incidence of invasive melanomas/ “Together, our findings provide a possible molecular mechanism as to why red-haired individuals harboring MCLR mutations are much more susceptible to UV-induced skin damage than individuals with darker skin, resulting in a 10-to-100 fold higher frequency of melanoma.”