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SUMMARY

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.