Proopiomelanocortin and the Melanocortin Peptides

  • Alex N. Eberle
Part of the The Receptors book series (REC)


The “melanophore stimulants” were discovered about 80 yr ago when, with surgical ablation experiments, the pituitary gland was shown to be involved in the control of skin color of amphibia. The pars intermedia was soon recognized as the origin of the biological principle, then also named “intermedin,” which induced darkening of amphibian skin (for a short historical review see ref. 1). In the 1950s, the development of an isolated frog skin bioassay by Shizume et al. (2) paved the way for the isolation (3), molecular characterization, and sequence determination of the melanocyte-stimulating hormones (MSHs; melanotropins) from pig by Lee and Lerner (4), Geschwind, et al. (5), Harris and Lerner (6) and Harris and Roos (7). In subsequent years, α-and β-melanocyte-stimulating hormones were isolated from bovine, equine, sheep, macaque, camel, dogfish, and salmon pituitary glands and their sequences determined (reviewed ref. 8). The advent of molecular cloning and sequencing techniques of the gene(s) of the melanotropin precursors made it possible to determine or confirm many more MSH sequences.


Melanoma Cell Pituitary Gland Human Melanoma Cell Melanocortin Receptor ACTH Peptide 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

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  • Alex N. Eberle

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