Detection of specific protein bands with melatonin-like immunoreactivity in different cell lines and human brain regions

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3 Scopus citations


The pineal hormone melatonin regulates various neural and endocrine processes involved in mammalian circadian rhythms. To understand how melatonin mediates these functions, we investigated melatonin-like immunoreactivity (MLI) in cell extracts and human brain. In Western immunoblots, we detected high-molecular-mass protein bands (85-135 kDa) that specifically reacted with the anti-melatonin antibody. The specific protein bands were present in cell extracts from the human brain and cell lines of different origins. The immunoreactive signal of the 135-kDa protein band was highest in a neuroendocrine PC12 cell line, which was 10-fold higher than the signal observed in any cell extracts used. The commercial antibody employed in the Western blots was further purified against serum proteins and thyroglobulins. We have previously reported that the antibody against melatonin recognizes MLI as detected by a sensitive RIA. In the present report we have detected the putative melatonin-specific binding proteins, which could contribute to the MLI. Our results suggest that melatonin binds with specific proteins in different cellular and brain extracts, the protein(s) being maximally synthesized in PC12 cells. These results may indicate a group of yet unknown proteins sharing a melatonin-like epitope or the presence of melatonin-binding protein(s) that regulate availability of free melatonin, or both.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
JournalIUBMB Life
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 12 1999


  • Binding proteins
  • Glial cells
  • Human brain
  • Melatonin
  • Melatonin-like immunoreactivity
  • Neuronal cells
  • Pineal gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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