BASF Beauty Care solutions and Genel highlight the implication of a microrna in the melanogenesis process

The skin is our first protective barrier and our most exposed organ. BASF Beauty Care Solutions and GENEL continuously develop and improve care to preserve it against the harmful effects of UV radiation, air pollution and ageing. These harmful effects induce skin disorders such as dark spots and skin smears due to hyperpigmentation. This biological process comes from an overproduction of a pigment i.e melanin. This pigment is naturally produced by the melanocytes, cells located in the skin’s epidermis, through the melanogenesis process.

Increased insight into the mechanism of skin pigmentation opens new avenues to develop new compounds able to stimulate or inhibit the production of melanin. Thus, these care solutions can reduce acne marks or a give healthy-glow effect by lightening skin or improving your tan.

In the context of the increased demand for natural products in creams and cosmetics, what could be more appropriate than to use a natural molecule such as microRNA ?

MicroRNAs are a class of non-coding RNA genes whose final product is a small functional RNA molecule. They play important roles in targeted-gene regulation and are responsible for transient modulation of specific protein expression. Thus, microRNAs are key regulators of all biological processes. The biogenesis of microRNA sequences has been thoroughly investigated and over 2000 microRNAs have been found in humans. More interestingly, researchers demonstrated that exogene plants microRNAs are not only able to accumulate in human sera but also able to regulate human genes (Lin Zhang et al., Cell Research, 2011). This has been increasing demand in microRNA for human care. The gene expression modulation driving all crucial cellular processes, microRNAs approachs pave the way to a breakthrough in human care !

Find the right microRNA involved in the melanogenesis process and give us a chance to fight skin pigmentation disorder.

After skillful studies, BASF Beauty Care Solutions (BASF BCS) succeeded in identifying a specific microRNA suspected to be involved in the melanogenesis process. In order to confirm its involvement, BASF BCS decided to validate the ability of this microRNA to regulate the melanogenesis process. To acquire valuable insights into gene regulation by microRNAs, BASF BCS selected GENEL company, a leader in microRNA-based studies and gene-control mechanisms, combining a thorough expertise in cellular biology and bioinformatics.

With BASF BCS, GENEL determined the most efficient strategy to achieve a reliable outcome. Thus, the study were conducted on Normal Human Adult Melanocytes. These primary cells, well cultured by GENEL, are morphologically close to in vivo melanocytes and thus perfectly mimicked physiology. Expert in microRNAs transfection, GENEL chose the most efficient and non-toxic agent in order to manage microRNA’s over-expression in these primary melanocytes. Finally, GENEL supported by BASF BC developed a dedicated test to evaluate microRNA over-expression effects on key proteins involved in the melanogenesis process.

In this study, GENEL and BASF BCS clearly demonstrate that the studied microRNA over-expression modulates key proteins involved in the melanogenesis process. Furthermore, to properly interpretate these results, GENEL performed a consistent bioinformatic analysis that suggests the studied microRNA might be a remarkable microRNA with low functional redundancy.

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