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The MITF gene codes for microphthalmia-associated transcription factor that regulates the expression of genes with essential roles in cell differentiation, proliferation and survival of neural crest-derived melanocytes, mast cells, osteoclasts and optic cup-derived retinal pigment epithelium. It binds to M-boxes (5'-TCATGTG-3') and symmetrical DNA sequences (E-boxes) (5'-CACGTG-3') found in the promoters of target genes, such as BCL2 and in the melanocyte TYR for tyrosinase or TYRP1. Inhibition of Serine/threonine-protein kinase SIK2 induces microphthalmia-associated transcription factor and thus production of melatonin in the skin.

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