Syndecan-2, a transmembrane heparan sulfate proteoglycan that is highly expressed in melanoma cells, regulates melanoma cell functions (e.g. migration). Since melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes, which largely function to synthesize melanin, we investigated the possible involvement of syndecan-2 in melanogenesis. Syndecan-2 expression was increased in human skin melanoma tissues compared with normal skin. In both mouse and human melanoma cells, siRNA-mediated knockdown of syndecan-2 was associated with reduced melanin synthesis, whereas overexpression of syndecan-2 increased melanin synthesis. Similar effects were also detected in human primary epidermal melanocytes. Syndecan-2 expression did not affect the expression of tyrosinase, a key enzyme in melanin synthesis, but instead enhanced the enzymatic activity of tyrosinase by increasing the membrane and melanosome localization of its regulator, protein kinase CβII. Furthermore, UVB caused increased syndecan-2 expression, and this up-regulation of syndecan-2 was required for UVB-induced melanin synthesis. Taken together, these data suggest that syndecan-2 regulates melanin synthesis and could be a potential therapeutic target for treating melanin-associated diseases.
- Protein kinase C β