The Extract of Rhodobacter sphaeroides Inhibits Melanogenesis through the MEK/ERK Signaling Pathway
Wen-Sheng Liu , Yu-Diao Kuan , Kuo-Hsun Chiu , Wei-Kuang Wang , Fu-Hsin Chang , Chen-Hsun Liu and Che-Hsin Lee


Reducing hyperpigmentation has been a big issue for years. Even though pigmentation is a normal mechanism protecting skin from UV-causing DNA damage and oxidative stress, it is still an aesthetic problem for many people. Bacteria can produce some compounds in response to their environment. These compounds are widely used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications. Some probiotics have immunomodulatory activities and modulate the symptoms of several diseases. Previously, we found that the extracts of Rhodobacter sphaeroides (Lycogen™) inhibited nitric oxide production and inducible nitric-oxide synthase expression in activated macrophages. In this study, we sought to investigate an anti-melanogenic signaling pathway in α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH)-treated B16F10 melanoma cells and zebrafish. Treatment with Lycogen™ inhibited the cellular melanin contents and expression of melanogenesis-related protein, including microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) and tyrosinase in B16F10 cells. Moreover, Lycogen™ reduced phosphorylation of MEK/ERK without affecting phosphorylation of p38. Meanwhile, Lycogen™ decreased zebrafish melanin expression in a dose-dependent manner. These findings establish Lycogen™ as a new target in melanogenesis and suggest a mechanism of action through the ERK signaling pathway. Our results suggested that Lycogen™ may have potential cosmetic usage in the future.

Mar. Drugs 2013, 11, 1899-1908;