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Keywords:

  • Electron microscopy;
  • Lysosome

Cultured choroidal melanocytes from cattle were incubated with gold labeled albumin. After phagocytosis of the labeled protein, the label appeared inside the melanin granules, as was observed under the electron microscope. Melanin granules associated with gold particles were also exocytosed into the culture medium by the melanocytes. The results of this study show that endosomes or phagosomes are transported from the cell surface of a melanocyte to the melanin granules. Therefore, melanin granules are part of the lysosomal degradation pathway. The possibility that albumin is degraded by proteases present in lysosomes and melanosomes and that the tyrosine released during degradation is used as substrate by tyrosinase and thereby converted to melanin is discussed. The present study additionally shows that the choroidea of cattle can be used as a source for cell culture of melanocytes.