The surface pigmentation of vertebrates is controlled by specialized cells able to synthesize a variety of pigments collectively known as melanins. Recent research has shown that melanins are produced not only in the skin but also in many other sites such as the eye, inner ear, muscles, etc., - where they are engaged in some unanticipated roles. The details of the synthetic pathway, the complexities of its regulation and biological significance that have been unravelled in recent research comprise a fascinating story and are of key importance in understanding the nature of diseases, including malignant melanoma one of the most rapidly spreading cancers.
Preface The History of Melanosome Research (Jan Borovansky) Classical and non-classical melanocytes in vertebrates (Sophie Colombo, Irina Berlin, Veronique Delmas, and Lionel Larue) The Biological Chemistry of ortho-Quinones (Patrick A. Riley, Christopher A. Ramsden, and Edward J. Land) Biosynthesis of Melanins (Jose Carlos Garcia-Borron, and M. Conchita Olivares Sanchez) Inhibitors and Enhancers of Melanogenesis (Alain Taieb, Muriel Cario-Andre, Stefania Briganti, and Mauro Picardo) Structure of Melanins (Shosuke Ito, Kazumasa Wakamatsu, Marco d Ischia, Alessandra Napolitano, and Alessandro Pezzella) Properties and Functions of Ocular Melanins and Melanosomes (Malgorzata Rozanowska) The biological role of neuromelanin in the human brain and it's importance in Parkinson's disease (K. L. Double, W. Maruyama, M. Naoi, P. M. Gerlach and P. Riederer) The Biogenesis of Melanosomes (Cedric Delevoye, Francesca Giordano, Michael S. Marks, and Graca Raposo) The Transport and Distribution of Melanosomes (Mireille Van Gele and Jo Lambert) Genetics of Melanosome Structure and Function (Vincent J. Hearing) Physiological and Pathological Functions of Melanosomes (Jan Borovansky, Patrick A. Riley) Dysplastic Naevi as Precursor Melanoma Lesions (Stanislav Pavel, Nico P.M. Smit, Karel Pizinger) Index