D-tyrosine negatively regulates melanin synthesis by competitively inhibiting tyrosinase activity

Jisu Park, Hyejung Jung, Kyuri Kim, Kyung Min Lim, Ji Young Kim, Eek Hoon Jho, Eok Soo Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Although L-tyrosine is well known for its melanogenic effect, the contribution of D-tyrosine to melanin synthesis was previously unexplored. Here, we reveal that, unlike L-tyrosine, D-tyrosine dose-dependently reduced the melanin contents of human MNT-1 melanoma cells and primary human melanocytes. In addition, 500 μM of D-tyrosine completely inhibited 10 μM L-tyrosine-induced melanogenesis, and both in vitro assays and L-DOPA staining MNT-1 cells showed that tyrosinase activity is reduced by D-tyrosine treatment. Thus, D-tyrosine appears to inhibit L-tyrosine-mediated melanogenesis by competitively inhibiting tyrosinase activity. Furthermore, we found that D-tyrosine inhibited melanogenesis induced by α-MSH treatment or UV irradiation, which are the most common environmental factors responsible for melanin synthesis. Finally, we confirmed that D-tyrosine reduced melanin synthesis in the epidermal basal layer of a 3D human skin model. Taken together, these data suggest that D-tyrosine negatively regulates melanin synthesis by inhibiting tyrosinase activity in melanocyte-derived cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-383
Number of pages10
JournalPigment Cell and Melanoma Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2018


  • D-tyrosine
  • L-tyrosine
  • melanin
  • melanogenesis
  • tyrosinase


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