Isolation and biochemical characterization of tyrosinase-rich GERL and coated vesicle in melanin synthesizing cells



The site of condensation and activation of tyrosinase prior to melanosome melanogenesis has been investigated using subcellular fractionation and enzymic analysis of so-called Golgi apparatus of melanoma cells. Two different functional units have been found in the so-called Golgi fraction, the tyrosinase-rich GERL-coated vesicle unit and the TPPase-rich Golgi unit. The tyrosinase-rich unit consists of a tubular structure with a cisternal portion corresponding to the three-dimensional structural characteristics of GERL, and spheroid vesicles, corresponding to the currently accepted criteria for coated vesicles. This fact suggests, in agreement with electron microscopic observations, that the GERL-coated vesicle unit is a specialized portion of smooth endoplasmic reticulum having the function of activating and condensing the tyrosinase synthesized by ribosomes.