Numerous factors including ultraviolet (UV) radiation and growth factors regulate the specific function of epidermal melanocytes. A recently discovered epidermal growth factor is sAPP, the soluble N-terminal ectodomain of the β-amyloid precursor protein (APP). Using whole mount preparations of isolated human epidermis, we detected a small population of basal cells, which expressed exceptionally high levels of APP. These cells were identified as melanocytes, which, similar to keratinocytes and neuronal cells, expressed the three APP isoforms 695, 751, and 770. They differed in their expression pattern from that of neuronal cells by expressing only low levels of APP 695. Melanocytes and melanoma cells in vitro released, in addition to keratinocytes, large quantities of sAPP. Because of its growth factor function, we studied possible effects of sAPP on melanocytes. Recombinant sAPP strongly increased lamellipodia activity at dendritic tips, an effect that coincided with increased release of melanin particles. Our observations point to the possible use of APP as an immunocytochemical marker for melanocytes. They suggest that sAPP derived from keratinocytes and/or melanocytes belongs to a family of factors operating in the paracrine and/or autocrine regulation of melanocyte function.
sAPP as a regulator of dendritic motility and melanin release in epidermal melanocytes and melanoma cells / Quast, T.; Wehner, S.; Kirfel, G.; Jaeger, K; DE LUCA, Michele; Herzog, V.. - In: THE FASEB JOURNAL. - ISSN 0892-6638. - STAMPA. - 17:(2003), pp. 1739-1741.