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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ultrastructural, histochemical, and biochemical studies of the melanin metabolism in eye and skin of pallid mice.

The hair follicles and the eyes of pallid mice (C57/6J-Pa/Pa) and those of black mice (C57/6J-+/Pa) were examined ultrastructurally, histochemically, and biochemically to determine the cause of pigment dilution. The pigment cells in the hair follicles and the eyes of pallid mice have less mature melanosomes than those of black mice. In the hair follicles the pallid melanosomes were transferred into keratinocytes and became aggregated. In the eyes they were already aggregated within the pigment cells and were digested in acid phosphatase-positive lysosomes. The activity of acid phosphatase, a marker of lysosomal enzymes was significantly higher in pallid hair follicles and eyes than in black hair follicles and eyes. Dopa reactions at light and electron microscopical level indicated that the pigment cells in each tissue produced a large amount of Dopa oxidase when compared with those in each black counterpart. However, the rate of hydroxylation of L-tyrosine-3,5-3H was significantly lower in the pallid eyes than in black eyes, while this rate was significantly higher in pallid hair follicles than in black hair follicles. Immediate digestion of melanosomes within the pigment cells, i.e., autophagocytosis, seemed to explain the low activity in the pallid eyes. The diluted coat and eye colors of pallid mice are, therefore, not related to low Dopa oxidase activity but to immaturity of melanosomes and high activities of lysosomal enzymes; these enzymes seem to digest many of these immature melanosomes and contribute to the diluted coat and eye colors of pallid mice.[1]


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