Melanin Pigment


Melanin Production

The MelA gene codes for a tyrosinase. Tyrosinases catalyze two reactions, as described in the figure below. Melanin is a macromolecular compound produced by the polymerization of the quinone product of the second reaction, and has a characteristic brown colour.

Tyrosinase action.jpg

From Claus and Decker, 2006


Our MelA gene is from Rhizobium etli. Further, it is a mutant; it has a C to T substitution at the 1,000th nucleotide, which creates a Proline to Serine mutation that reduces the amount of time before melanin production is visible. (Santos et al. 2008) The plasmid pTRCmelA was provided by Christine Sanntos from the lab of G. Stephanopoulos to Duncan Rowe under the materials transfers agreement.

Using pTRCmelA as a template, we aim to show melanin expression in E. coli and isolate the MelA gene in biobrick form.

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