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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Melatonin biological activity and binding sites in human melanoma cells.

The effects of melatonin, N-acetylserotonin and serotonin on the growth and tyrosinase activity of SK-Mel 23 and SK-Mel 28 human melanoma cell lines were investigated. Binding assays were also performed to establish the nature of the binding site. SK-Mel 28 cells were responsive to melatonin and its precursors, exhibiting a decrease in growth and an increase in tyrosinase activity after a 72 hr treatment. N-acetylserotonin was as potent as melatonin, the minimal effective concentration ( MEC, which is defined as the smallest concentration that elicits a measurable biological response, significantly different from control) being 10-8 m. Serotonin was the least potent ( MEC = 10-6 m). Both melatonin antagonists, prazosin and luzindole, exhibited no effect per se and reversed both responses to melatonin. SK-Mel 23 cells, however, showed no significant responses to the indoleamines. Competition binding assays in SK-Mel 28 cells demonstrated the presence of binding sites to 2-[125 I]-iodomelatonin, which was displaced by the unlabelled hormone, by both antagonists, and by N-acetylserotonin. The curve adjustment of the displacement values with melatonin suggests the existence of two binding sites, with the following Ki values: 1.0 x 10-10 m and 6.5 x 10-6 m. Ki values for acetylserotonin, prazosin and luzindole were, respectively, 3.8 x 10-8 m, 1.2 x 10-8 m, and 8.3 x 10-6 m. Surprisingly, in SK-Mel 23 cells, melatonin and luzindole were able to compete with the radioligand, with Ki values of 3.1 x 10-8 and 2.4 x 10-8 m, respectively. Our data suggest that SK-Mel 28 cells probably possess high affinity binding sites to melatonin and, in addition, MT3 low affinity binding sites, because N-acetylserotonin was as effective as the native hormone, and prazosin effectively blocked the actions of melatonin. Both sites are functional as demonstrated by the blockade promoted by both luzindole and prazosin on the proliferative and melanogenic responses. Although growth and tyrosinase activity of SK-Mel 23 cells were not affected by melatonin or its precursors, this cell line possesses high affinity binding sites, which may be non-functional, or trigger responses other than the ones herein investigated.[1]


  1. Melatonin biological activity and binding sites in human melanoma cells. Souza, A.V., Visconti, M.A., Castrucci, A.M. J. Pineal Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
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