Mammalian pigment cells produce melanin as the main pigment. Melanocytes, one of the two types of mammalian pigment cells, differentiate from the neural crest and migrate to a variety of organs during development. Melanocytes exist not only in the skin but also in other sites such as the cochlea where they are essential for hearing. Mitfmi-bw is one of the known recessive alleles of the mouse microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf) locus, which is essential for the development of pigment cells. Homozygous Mitfmi-bw/Mitfmi-bw mice have a completely white coat with black eyes and are deaf due to the lack of melanocytes. By comparing gene expression profiles in cochleae of wild-type and Mitfmi-bw/Mitfmi-bw mice, we now demonstrate the specific expression of glutathione S-transferase alpha 4 (Gsta4) in the stria vascularis. Gsta4 encodes one of the cytosolic glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) which participate in detoxification processes of many tissues. This gene is specifically expressed in intermediate cells of the stria vascularis, suggesting a novel function for cochlear melanocytes. Moreover, among mammalian pigment cells, expression of Gsta4 was restricted to cochlear melanocytes, suggesting that melanocytes in various tissues differentiate from one another depending on their location.