OPN3 is a new biomarker that regulates melanogenesis through MITF in nevus cells
Background: Melanocytic nevus (MN) is a commonly encountered malformation or neoplasm. The mechanism of melanocytic nevus melanogenesis is not fully understood. Objective: We investigated the function and underlying mechanism of melanogenesis regulated via OPN3 in human skin melanocytic nevus. Methods: The expression of OPN3 in nevus tissues, paired adjacent normal skin tissues, healthy individuals, and the contents of melanin in the nevus tissues were analyzed. Primary nevus cells were isolated in vitro and a reconstructed nevus model was to explore the role of OPN3 in the melanogenesis in nevus cells by siRNA-OPN3. Results: The expression of OPN3 in nevus, cultured nevus cells and reconstructed nevus model in vivo and vitro was observed. OPN3 regulates melanogenesis through OPN3-JNK-MITF signaling pathway in nevus cells. After inhibition of OPN3, the phosphorylation of MITF was increased and transferred to the nucleus. The regulation of OPN3 on the melanogenesis has also been confirmed by the reconstructed nevus model in vitro. Conclusions: Our research provides insights into the molecular mechanism of melanogenesis in human skin melanocytic nevus, and it is possible that OPN3 can be used as a biomarker for melanocytic nevus.