Melanins and Melanosomes: Biosynthesis, Structure, Physiological and Pathological Functions
August 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
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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.