The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanism of fatty acid-induced regulation of melanogenesis. An apparent regulatory effect on melanogenesis was observed when cultured B16F10 melanoma cells were incubated with fatty acids, i.e., linoleic acid (unsaturated, C18:2) decreased melanin synthesis while palmitic acid (saturated, C16:0) increased it. However, mRNA levels of the melanogenic enzymes, tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein 1 (TRP1), and tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP2), were not altered. Regarding protein levels of these enzymes, the amount of tyrosinase was decreased by linoleic acid and increased by palmitic acid, whereas the amounts of TRP1 and TRP2 did not change after incubation with fatty acids. Pulse-chase assay by [35S]methionine metabolic labeling revealed that neither linoleic acid nor palmitic acid altered the synthesis of tyrosinase. Further, it was shown that linoleic acid accelerated, while palmitic acid decelerated, the proteolytic degradation of tyrosinase. These results suggest that modification of proteolytic degradation of tyrosinase is involved in regulatory effects of fatty acids on melanogenesis in cultured melanoma cells.