• slaty;
  • melanocyte;
  • culture;
  • melanosome;
  • Golgi apparatus;
  • mitochondria


The slaty (Dctslt) mutation is known to reduce the activity of dopachrome tautomerase in melanocytes and to reduce the melanin content in skin, hairs and eyes. Although the melanosomes in slaty melanocytes are reported to be eumelanosome-like, detailed melanosome biogenesis is not well studied. To address this point, melanosomes in neonatal epidermal melanocytes from wild-type (Dct+/Dct+) mice at the slaty locus as well as its congenic mouse mutant (Dctslt/Dctslt) in serum-free primary culture were observed under the electron microscope. Wild-type melanocytes possessed exclusively elliptical melanosomes with internal longitudinal structures, whereas in mutant melanocytes, numerous spherical melanosomes with globular depositions of pigment and elliptical melanosomes as well as mixed type of the two melanosomes were observed. Mature stage IV melanosomes were greatly decreased in mutant melanocytes, whereas immature stage III melanosomes were more numerous than in wild-type melanocytes. These results suggest that the slaty mutation affects the morphology and maturation of melanosomes in mouse melanocytes.