Molecular mechanisms of pigment transport in melanophores

M. Carolina Tuma, Vladimir I. Gelfand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


We present an overview of the research on intracellular transport in pigment cells, with emphasis on the most recent discoveries. Pigment cells of lower vertebrates have been traditionally used as a model for studies of intracellular transport mechanisms, because these cells transport pigment organelles to the center or to the periphery of the cell in a highly co-ordinated fashion. It is now well established that both aggregation and dispersion of pigment in melanophores require two elements of the cytoskeleton: microtubules and actin filaments. Melanosomes are moved along these cytoskeletal tracks by motor proteins. Recent studies have identified the motors responsible for pigment dispersion and aggregation in melanophores. We propose a model for the possible roles of the two cytoskeletal transport systems and how they might interact. We also discuss the putative mechanisms of regulation of pigment transport, especially phosphorylation. Last, we suggest areas of research that will receive attention in the future in order to elucidate the mechanisms of organelle transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-294
Number of pages12
JournalPigment Cell Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1999


  • Actin
  • Cytoplasmic dynein
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Kinesin II
  • Melanocytes
  • Melanophores
  • Microtubule
  • Microtubule motors
  • Myosin V

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular mechanisms of pigment transport in melanophores'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this