Concept

Melanosome

Summary
A melanosome is an organelle found in animal cells and is the site for synthesis, storage and transport of melanin, the most common light-absorbing pigment found in the animal kingdom. Melanosomes are responsible for color and photoprotection in animal cells and tissues. Melanosomes are synthesised in the skin in melanocyte cells, as well as the eye in choroidal melanocytes and retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. In lower vertebrates, they are found in melanophores or chromatophores. Structure Melanosomes are relatively large organelles, measuring up to 500 nm in diameter. They are bound by a bilipid membrane and are, in general, rounded, sausage-like, or cigar-like in shape. The shape is constant for a given species and cell type. They have a characteristic ultrastructure on electron microscopy, which varies according to the maturity of the melanosome, and for research purposes a numeric staging system is sometimes used. Synthesis of melanin
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