UNIT 3.14 Isolation of Melanosomes

  1. Hidenori Watabe,
  2. Tsuneto Kushimoto,
  3. Julio C. Valencia,
  4. Vincent J. Hearing

Published Online: 1 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0471143030.cb0314s26

Current Protocols in Cell Biology

Current Protocols in Cell Biology

How to Cite

Watabe, H., Kushimoto, T., Valencia, J. C. and Hearing, V. J. 2005. Isolation of Melanosomes. Current Protocols in Cell Biology. 26:3.14:3.14.1–3.14.16.

Author Information

  1. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 APR 2005
  2. Published Print: MAR 2005


The methods used to purify early and late melanosomes are detailed. These methods include the use of highly pigmented cells to maximize recovery and the use of various sucrose density gradients to separate melanosome fractions based on their density (which is determined in large part by the amount of dense melanin pigment that they contain). Early melanosomes lacking pigment must be further purified using free-flow electrophoresis.


  • melanosomes;
  • free-flow electrophoresis;
  • subcellular fractionation;
  • melanin;
  • pigment