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Traffic. 2002 Apr;3(4):237-48.

The dark side of lysosome-related organelles: specialization of the endocytic pathway for melanosome biogenesis.

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  • 1UMR-144, Institut Curie, CNRS, Paris, Cedex 75005, France. graposo@curie.fr

Abstract

Melanosomes are lysosome-related organelles within which melanin pigments are synthesized and stored in melanocytes and retinal pigment epithelial cells. Early ultrastructural studies of pigment cells revealed that melanosomes consist of a complex series of organelles; more recently, these structures have been correlated with cargo constituents. By studying the fate of melanosomal and endosomal cargo in melanocytic cells, the effects of disease-related mutations on melanosomal morphology, and the genes affected by these mutations, we are beginning to gain novel insights into the biogenesis of these complex organelles and their relationship to the endocytic pathway. These insights demonstrate how specialized cells integrate unique and ubiquitous molecular mechanisms in subverting the endosomal system to generate cell-type specific structures and their associated functions. Further dissection of the melanosomal system will likely shed light not only on the biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles but also on general aspects of vesicular transport in the endosomal system.

PMID:
11929605
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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