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Control of melanosome movement in intact and cultured melanophores in the bitterling, Acheilognathus lanceolatus.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Kobe University, Rokkodai Nada-ku 1-1, 657-8501, Kobe, Japan.


The melanophores in the dermis on scales in the bitterling, Acheilognathus lanceolatus were studies to obtain information about the control mechanism of aggregation and dispersion using intact, membrane-permeabilized and cultured cells. The cultured melanophores showed supersensitivity, namely, they responded to norepinephrine with much higher sensitivity than intact cells. The cultured melanophores failed to respond to high KCl. Melatonin aggregated and adenosine dispersed melanosomes within a cell. Digitonin permeabilized cells showed aggregation with Ca ions and dispersion by cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) in the presence of ATP. Movement of melanosomes was observed under the high magnification of light microscope and the tracks of each pigment granule were followed. The granules moved fast and linearly during aggregation, whereas they showed to-and-fro movement during dispersion.

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