Melanosomes on the move: a model to understand organelle dynamics.
Advances in live-cell microscopy have revealed the extraordinarily dynamic nature of intracellular organelles. Moreover, movement appears to be critical in establishing and maintaining intracellular organization and organellar and cellular function. Motility is regulated by the activity of organelle-associated motor proteins, kinesins, dyneins and myosins, which move cargo along polar MT (microtubule) and actin tracks. However, in most instances, the motors that move specific organelles remain mysterious. Over recent years, pigment granules, or melanosomes, within pigment cells have provided an excellent model for understanding the molecular mechanisms by which motor proteins associate with and move intracellular organelles. In the present paper, we discuss recent discoveries that shed light on the mechanisms of melanosome transport and highlight future prospects for the use of pigment cells in unravelling general molecular mechanisms of intracellular transport.