The melanosome: membrane dynamics in black and white

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Oct;2(10):738-48. doi: 10.1038/35096009.


Melanosomes are morphologically and functionally unique organelles within which melanin pigments are synthesized and stored. Melanosomes share some characteristics with lysosomes, but can be distinguished from them in many ways. The biogenesis and intracellular movement of melanosomes and related organelles are disrupted in several genetic disorders in mice and humans. The recent characterization of genes defective in these diseases has reinvigorated interest in the melanosome as a model system for understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie intracellular membrane dynamics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Humans
  • Melanocytes / physiology*
  • Melanosomes / genetics
  • Melanosomes / physiology*
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Movement / physiology
  • Organelles / metabolism