Duyen Ha
Email: dmz56@unh.edu
University of New Hampshire

What is Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1R)?

MC1R gene introduces the production of a protein known as the melanocortin 1 receptor. The Melanocytes and the receptor are bound together to create a pigment refers to as melanin. Melanin provides the color for the eye, hair, and skin. There are two type of melanin called pheomelanin and eumelanin. When we are exposed to UV radiation, eumelanin can prevent our skin from destruction. Eumelanin is often generated among individuals with black/brown hair, and dark skin color. So those individuals who possess blond/red hair, freckles, and light skin color are usually generated pheomelanin, which unable to defend UV radiation. The people who have pheomelanin are very likely to have potential skin cancer through UV radiation. MC1R regulates the melanocytes to produce different form of melanin. If the receptor is stimulated, a set of chemical substances would be release to provoke the melanocytes to produce eumelanin. However, if the receptor is not stimulated, melanocytes would produce pheomelanin as an alternative. (2)
Image of melanoma. Credit to Skin Cancer Foundation at visualonline.cancer.gov

Phylogenetic Tree
What's the effect of altered MC1R gene?
Map Viewer

Bioinformatic tools Links: These are the tools that contributed in determining the MC1R gene.

Entrez Gene- This database was used to find information and location of the MC1R gene.

Geneious (download require) was used for protein alignment.

Mega (download require) Mega 4 version was used to create the phylogenetic tree.

Blastp allows us to search for homologous sequences of the MC1R gene.


1) Kyrgidis, A.; Tzellos, T.; Triaridis, S.(2010). Melanoma: Stem cells, sun exposure and hallmarks for carcinogenesis, molecular concept and future clinical implications. Journal of Carcinogenesis,9:3. Retrieved at
This article explain the how the skin is being damage by the UV radiation and is likely to increase the risk of skin cancer. It is further explain what happen to the DNA that is damage and how it can undergo mutation.

2) MC1R. (2007, March). Reference Genetic Home. Retrieved at http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/MC1R.
This article provide bakground information on MC1R gene. It explained how the sunlight exposure can cause damage to the skin and altered the gene. It also show where the gene is located.

3) Protein Blast. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved at http://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Blast.cgi?PAGE=Proteins&PROGRAM=blastp&BLAST_PROGRAMS=blastp&PAGE_TYPE=BlastSearch&DATABASE=pdb
A tool use to search for the same gene sequences.

4) Entrez Gene. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene
A system allow you to search for information on a gene where map, homolgy, and location of the gene can be found there.

5) Pubmed. National Center of Biotechnology Information. Retrieved at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
A database that give information about the genes and diseases.

6) Tamura K, Dudley J, Nei M, Kumar S. (2009). Molecular Evolution Genetic Analysis. Retrieved at http://www.megasoftware.net/index.html
Mega is used for creating phylogenetic tree and aligned the gene's sequence.

7) Map Viewer. National Center of Biotechnology Information. Retrieved at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/mapview/map_search.cgi?taxid=9606
A map that showed the location of the gene the on a chromosome.

8) Drummond AJ, Ashton B, Buxton S, Cheung M, Cooper A, Heled J, Kearse M, Moir R, Stones-Havas S, Sturrock S, Thierer T, Wilson A. (2010). Geneious v5.1, Retrieved from http://www.geneious.com
Use for alignment, analysis, BLAST etc...