Title : Mycosporine-like Amino Acids: Can we use MAAs for the production of organic personalized sunscreens?
The Earth’s surface is exposed to harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in the range of 280–400 nm. As a result of prolonged exposure to harmful UVR, DNA damage to the skin is happening via generation of free radicals leading to oxidative stress and skin ageing. In nature, organisms have developed different mechanisms to prevent the damage coming from UVR and oxidative stress. Mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) are UV-absorbing compounds, found in many aquatic species and are actually the most abundant secondary metabolite. MAAs are involved in photoprotection from damaging UVR thanks to their ability to absorb light in both the UV-A (315–400 nm) and UV –B (280–315 nm) range without producing free radicals. In addition, by scavenging Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), MAAs play an antioxidant role and suppress singlet oxygen-induced damage. Currently, there are over 30 different MAAs found in nature and they are characterised by their different anti-oxidative and UV-absorbing capacities. Depending on the environmental conditions and UV level, up- or down-regulation of genes from the MAA biosynthetic pathway results in seasonal fluctuation of the MAA content in aquatic species. I will provide a summary of the MAA anti-oxidative and UV-absorbing features including the genes involved in the MAA biosynthesis. Specifically, regulatory mechanisms involved in MAAs’ pathways will be evaluated for controlled MAA synthesis, advancing the potential use of MAAs in biotechnology and human skin protection.