Pigment Cells: A Model for the Study of Organelle Transport

Alexandra A. Nascimento*, Joseph T. Roland, Vladimir I. Gelfand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

118 Scopus citations

Abstract

Eukaryotic organisms rely on intracellular transport to position organelles and other components within their cells. Pigment cells provide an excellent model to study organelle transport as they specialize in the translocation of pigment granules in response to denned chemical signals. Pigment cells of lower vertebrates have traditionally been used as a model for these studies because these cells transport pigment organelles in a highly coordinated fashion, are easily cultured and transfected, are ideal for microsurgery, and are good for biochemical experiments, including in vitro analysis of organelle motility. Many important properties of organelle transport, for example, the requirement of two cytoskeletal filaments (actin and microtubules), the motor proteins involved, and the mechanisms of their regulation and interactions, have been studied using pigment cells of lower vertebrates. Genetic studies of mouse melanocytes allowed the discovery of essential elements involved in organelle transport including the myosin-Va motor and its receptor and adaptor molecules on the organelle surface. Future studies of pigment cells will contribute to our understanding of issues such as the cooperation among multiple motor proteins and the mechanisms of regulation of microtubule motors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-491
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology
Volume19
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 11 2003

Keywords

  • Actin
  • Dynein
  • Kinesin
  • Microtubule
  • Myosin-V

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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