Skin pigmentation is paused after sun exposure; however, the mechanism behind this pausing is unknown. In this study, we found that the UVB-induced DNA repair system, led by the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein kinase, represses MITF transcriptional activity of pigmentation genes while placing MITF in DNA repair mode, thus directly inhibiting pigment production. Phosphoproteomics analysis revealed ATM to be the most significantly enriched pathway among all UVB-induced DNA repair systems. ATM inhibition in mouse or human skin, either genetically or chemically, induces pigmentation. Upon UVB exposure, MITF transcriptional activation is blocked owing to ATM-dependent phosphorylation of MITF on S414, which modifies MITF activity and interactome toward DNA repair, including binding to TRIM28 and RBBP4. Accordingly, MITF genome occupancy is enriched in sites of high DNA damage that are likely repaired. This suggests that ATM harnesses the pigmentation key activator for the necessary rapid, efficient DNA repair, thus optimizing the chances of the cell surviving. Data are available from ProteomeXchange with the identifier PXD041121.
- DNA Repair Disorders
- Pigmentation and Pigment Cell Biology
- Transcription Factors
- UV radiation