Mir-434-5p mediates skin whitening and lightening
David TS Wu, Jack S Chen, Donald C Chang, Shi-Lung Lin
Institute of Mello Biotechnology, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC
Abstract: Utilization of gene silencing effectors, such as microRNA (miRNA) and small airpin RNA (shRNA), provides a powerful new strategy for human skin care in vivo, particularly for hyperpigmentation treatment and aging prevention. In this study, tyrosinase (Tyr), the rate-limiting enzyme of melanin (black pigment) biosynthesis, was served as a target for treatment of hyperpigmentation in mouse and human skins. There are over 54 native microRNA capable of silencing human tyrosinase for skin whitening and lightening. To this, we have designed a mir-434-5p homologue and used it to successfully demonstrate the feasibility of miRNA-mediated skin whitening and lightening in vitro and in vivo. Under the same experimental condition in the trials, Pol-II-directed intronic mir-434-5p expression did not cause any detectable sign of cytotoxicity, whereas siRNAs targeting the same sequence often induced certain nonspecific mRNA degradation as previously reported. Because the intronic miRNA-mediated gene silencing pathway is tightly regulated by multiple intracellular surveillance systems, including Pol-II transcription, RNA splicing, exosomal digestion and nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD), the current findings underscore the fact that intronic miRNA agents, such as manually re-designed mir-434-5p homologues, are effective, target-specific and safe to be used for skin whitening without any detectable cytotoxic effect. Given that the human skins also express a variety of other native miRNAs, we may re-design these miRNAs based on their individual functions for skin care, which may provide significant insights into areas of opportunity for new cosmetic and/or therapeutical applications.
Keywords: microRNA, miRNA, mir-434, intron, gene silencing, RNAi, tyrosinase, melanin, cosmetics, pigmentation, skin whitening
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