Researchers have strengthened their understanding of how skin cells called melanocytes sense ultraviolet light and act to protect themselves with melanin. In a new study, they report experiments showing that an ion channel well-known elsewhere in the body for its chemical sensitivity, plays a central role in this process.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Last year, a team of researchers at Brown University discovered that certain skin cells use a light-sensitive receptor found outside of the eye to sense ultraviolet light and quickly begin pumping out melanin to protect against DNA damage. In a new study, lab members identify a key player in that biomolecular chain of events that could someday become a pharmacological target for improving this protective response. (more…)