Optimizing an endocytosis assay for the characterization of melanin uptake and processing by keratinocytes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The ``Epidermal-Melanin Unit{''} comprises the functional complex in which melanocytes and keratinocytes co-operate in a synergistic fashion to maintain skin pigmentation. The transfer of melanosomes from donor melanocytes to recipient keratinocytes and subsequent redistribution to the supra-nuclear area is a critical process in skin pigmentation and photo-protection against ultra-violet (UV) damage. However, the molecular mechanism underlying inter-cellular transfer of melanin remains controversial and the molecular machinery involved in melanin uptake and traffic within keratinocytes largely unknown. To further investigate the melanin transfer process, we sought to validate cellular systems to study the mechanisms of melanin uptake and traffic within keratinocytes. These studies were carried out in keratinocytes co-cultured with melanocytes or fed with melanosomes or melanocores (melanosomes lacking the limiting membrane) isolated from melanocytes. We found that melanocores are taken up by keratinocytes in an analogous manner to the transfer of melanosomes in co-culture and accumulate in lysosome-like structures that resemble the physiological supra-nuclear cap observed in human skin. Our observations validate the use of melanocores to identify factors involved in the uptake and processing of melanin by keratinocytes.}
Original languageUnknown
Place of PublicationVIA MASERATI 5, 40128 BOLOGNA, 00000, ITALY
ISBN (Print)978-88-7587-678-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Event17th Meeting of the European-Society-for-Pigment-Cell-Research (ESPCR) -
Duration: 1 Jan 2012 → …


Conference17th Meeting of the European-Society-for-Pigment-Cell-Research (ESPCR)
Period1/01/12 → …

Cite this

Barral, D. C. F., & Seabra, M. P. P. C. D. (2013). Optimizing an endocytosis assay for the characterization of melanin uptake and processing by keratinocytes. In MELANOCYTE AND ITS ENVIRONMENT (pp. 1-5). VIA MASERATI 5, 40128 BOLOGNA, 00000, ITALY: MEDIMOND S R L.