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Interactions between GIPC–APPL and GIPC–TRP1 regulate melanosomal protein trafficking and melanogenesis in human melanocytes

Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/
  • Pdz Proteins
  • Gipc
  • Adaptor Appl
  • Protein Trafficking
  • Melanosomal Proteins
  • Melanin Pigmentation
  • Biology


Abstract By virtue of the presence of multiple protein–protein interaction and signaling domains, PDZ proteins play important roles in assembling protein complexes that participate in diverse cell biological processes. GIPC is a versatile PDZ protein that binds a variety of target proteins in different cell types. In previous studies we showed that, in epidermal melanocytes, GIPC interacts with newly synthesized melanosomal protein TRP1 in the Golgi region and proposed that this interaction may facilitate intracellular trafficking of TRP1. However, since GIPC contains a single PDZ domain and no other known protein interaction motifs, it is not known how GIPC–TRP1 interaction affects melanosome biogenesis and/or melanin pigmentation. Here, we show that in human primary melanocytes GIPC interacts with AKT-binding protein APPL (adaptor protein containing pleckstrin homology, leucine zipper and phosphotyrosine binding domains), which readily co-precipitates with newly synthesized TRP1. Knockdown of either GIPC or APPL inhibits melanogenesis by decreasing tyrosinase protein levels and enzyme activity. In melanocytes, APPL exists in a complex with GIPC and phospho-AKT. Inhibition of AKT phosphorylation using a PI3-kinase inhibitor abolishes this interaction and results in retardation TRP1 in the Golgi. These data suggest that interactions between TRP1–GIPC and GIPC–APPL–AKT provide a potential link between melanogenesis and PI3 kinase signaling.

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