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Pigment Cell Res. 2007 Jun;20(3):153-60.

Myosins in melanocytes: to move or not to move?

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Institut Curie, Centre de recherche, Paris, France.


The actin network has been implicated in the intracellular transport and positioning of the melanosomes, organelles that are specialized in the biosynthesis and the storage of melanin. It contributes also to molecular mechanisms that underlie the intracellular membrane dynamics and thereby can control the biogenesis of melanosomes. Two mechanisms for actin-based movements have been identified: one is dependent on the motors associated to actin namely the myosins; the other is dependent on actin polymerization. This review will focus on to the role of the actin cytoskeleton and myosins in the transport and in the biogenesis of melanosomes. Myosins involved in membrane traffic are largely seen as transporters of organelles or membrane vesicles containing cargos along the actin networks. Yet increasing evidence suggests that some of the myosins contribute to the dynamics of internal membrane by using other mechanisms. The role of the myosins and the different molecular mechanisms by which they contribute or may contribute to the distribution, the movement and the biogenesis of the melanosomes in epidermal melanocytes and retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells will be discussed.

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