Interactions of flavins with melanin. Studies on equilibrium binding of riboflavin to dopa-melanin and some spectroscopic characteristics of flavin-melanin complex

Kozik, A.; Korytowski, W.; Sarna, T.; Bloom, A.S.

Biophysical Chemistry 38(1-2): 39-48


ISSN/ISBN: 0301-4622
PMID: 2128193
DOI: 10.1016/0301-4622(90)80038-9
Accession: 040469466

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Natural melanins are photoprotective pigments that in mammals are principally found in the skin, hair, and eyes. Although the molecular mechanism of photoprotection of pigmented cells has not yet been established, several hypotheses have been proposed with melanin acting as a light filter, free radical scavenger, and quencher of electronically excited states of reactive intermediates. It can be expected that the detoxicating efficiency of melanin should be enhanced if the melanin and potentially cytotoxic species are brought close together. Such a situation may occur for a number of photosensitizing dyes that have the ability to bind to melanin. The interaction of melanin with flavins has been studied under strictly controlled experimental conditions. The equilibrium dialysis method has been employed to determine dissociation constants and the number of binding sites in melanin at pH 5-9. The data reveal that synthetic DOPA-melanin has two different classes of binding sites with dissociation constants of 10(-6) and 10(-5) M, respectively. The overall binding capacity of melanin, at pH 7, is 250 nmol RF/mg melanin. The amount of bound-to-melanin RF increases with pH. The absorption spectra of melanin complexes with RF and lumiflavin indicate that hydrophobic interaction may be involved in the binding of these flavins by melanin. No changes in flavin fluorescence have been detected after binding of flavin to melanin. It appears that, contrary to cationic photosensitizing dyes, the singlet excited state of flavin molecules is not quenched by melanin.