A role for Dynlt3 in melanosome movement, distribution, acidity and transfer

Commun Biol. 2021 Mar 26;4(1):423. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-01917-5.


Skin pigmentation is dependent on cellular processes including melanosome biogenesis, transport, maturation and transfer to keratinocytes. However, how the cells finely control these processes in space and time to ensure proper pigmentation remains unclear. Here, we show that a component of the cytoplasmic dynein complex, Dynlt3, is required for efficient melanosome transport, acidity and transfer. In Mus musculus melanocytes with decreased levels of Dynlt3, pigmented melanosomes undergo a more directional motion, leading to their peripheral location in the cell. Stage IV melanosomes are more acidic, but still heavily pigmented, resulting in a less efficient melanosome transfer. Finally, the level of Dynlt3 is dependent on β-catenin activity, revealing a function of the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway during melanocyte and skin pigmentation, by coupling the transport, positioning and acidity of melanosomes required for their transfer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dyneins / genetics*
  • Dyneins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Melanocytes / metabolism*
  • Melanosomes / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Skin Pigmentation


  • DYNLT3 protein, mouse
  • Dyneins