Melanocytes: Mammalian pigment cells that produce MELANINS, pigments found mainly in the EPIDERMIS, but also in the eyes and the hair, by a process called melanogenesis. Coloration can be altered by the number of melanocytes or the amount of pigment produced and stored in the organelles called MELANOSOMES. The large non-mammalian melanin-containing cells are called MELANOPHORES.Melanins: Insoluble polymers of TYROSINE derivatives found in and causing darkness in skin (SKIN PIGMENTATION), hair, and feathers providing protection against SUNBURN induced by SUNLIGHT. CAROTENES contribute yellow and red coloration.Vitiligo: A disorder consisting of areas of macular depigmentation, commonly on extensor aspects of extremities, on the face or neck, and in skin folds. Age of onset is often in young adulthood and the condition tends to progress gradually with lesions enlarging and extending until a quiescent state is reached.Monophenol Monooxygenase: An enzyme of the oxidoreductase class that catalyzes the reaction between L-tyrosine, L-dopa, and oxygen to yield L-dopa, dopaquinone, and water. It is a copper protein that acts also on catechols, catalyzing some of the same reactions as CATECHOL OXIDASE. EC Melanin-containing organelles found in melanocytes and melanophores.Skin Pigmentation: Coloration of the skin.Microphthalmia-Associated Transcription Factor: A basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper transcription factor that regulates the CELL DIFFERENTIATION and development of a variety of cell types including MELANOCYTES; OSTEOCLASTS; and RETINAL PIGMENT EPITHELIUM. Mutations in MITF protein have been associated with OSTEOPETROSIS and WAARDENBURG SYNDROME.Melanoma: A malignant neoplasm derived from cells that are capable of forming melanin, which may occur in the skin of any part of the body, in the eye, or, rarely, in the mucous membranes of the genitalia, anus, oral cavity, or other sites. It occurs mostly in adults and may originate de novo or from a pigmented nevus or malignant lentigo. Melanomas frequently metastasize widely, and the regional lymph nodes, liver, lungs, and brain are likely to be involved. The incidence of malignant skin melanomas is rising rapidly in all parts of the world. (Stedman, 25th ed; from Rook et al., Textbook of Dermatology, 4th ed, p2445)Pigmentation: Coloration or discoloration of a part by a pigment.Hair Color: Color of hair or fur.Nevus: A circumscribed stable malformation of the skin and occasionally of the oral mucosa, which is not due to external causes and therefore presumed to be of hereditary origin.alpha-MSH: A 13-amino acid peptide derived from proteolytic cleavage of ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE, the N-terminal segment of ACTH. ACTH (1-13) is amidated at the C-terminal to form ACTH (1-13)NH2 which in turn is acetylated to form alpha-MSH in the secretory granules. Alpha-MSH stimulates the synthesis and distribution of MELANIN in MELANOCYTES in mammals and MELANOPHORES in lower vertebrates.Endothelin-3: A 21-amino acid peptide that circulates in the plasma, but its source is not known. Endothelin-3 has been found in high concentrations in the brain and may regulate important functions in neurons and astrocytes, such as proliferation and development. It also is found throughout the gastrointestinal tract and in the lung and kidney. (N Eng J Med 1995;333(6):356-63)Hypopigmentation: A condition caused by a deficiency or a loss of melanin pigmentation in the epidermis, also known as hypomelanosis. Hypopigmentation can be localized or generalized, and may result from genetic defects, trauma, inflammation, or infections.Skin: The outer covering of the body that protects it from the environment. It is composed of the DERMIS and the EPIDERMIS.Intramolecular Oxidoreductases: Enzymes of the isomerase class that catalyze the oxidation of one part of a molecule with a corresponding reduction of another part of the same molecule. They include enzymes converting aldoses to ketoses (ALDOSE-KETOSE ISOMERASES), enzymes shifting a carbon-carbon double bond (CARBON-CARBON DOUBLE BOND ISOMERASES), and enzymes transposing S-S bonds (SULFUR-SULFUR BOND ISOMERASES). (From Enzyme Nomenclature, 1992) EC 5.3.Epidermis: The external, nonvascular layer of the skin. It is made up, from within outward, of five layers of EPITHELIUM: (1) basal layer (stratum basale epidermidis); (2) spinous layer (stratum spinosum epidermidis); (3) granular layer (stratum granulosum epidermidis); (4) clear layer (stratum lucidum epidermidis); and (5) horny layer (stratum corneum epidermidis).Hyperpigmentation: Excessive pigmentation of the skin, usually as a result of increased epidermal or dermal melanin pigmentation, hypermelanosis. Hyperpigmentation can be localized or generalized. The condition may arise from exposure to light, chemicals or other substances, or from a primary metabolic imbalance.Pigmentation DisordersMelanocyte-Stimulating Hormones: Peptides with the ability to stimulate pigmented cells MELANOCYTES in mammals and MELANOPHORES in lower vertebrates. By stimulating the synthesis and distribution of MELANIN in these pigmented cells, they increase coloration of skin and other tissue. MSHs, derived from pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), are produced by MELANOTROPHS in the INTERMEDIATE LOBE OF PITUITARY; CORTICOTROPHS in the ANTERIOR LOBE OF PITUITARY, and the hypothalamic neurons in the ARCUATE NUCLEUS OF HYPOTHALAMUS.Agouti Signaling Protein: A secreted protein of approximately 131 amino acids (depending on species) that regulates the synthesis of eumelanin (brown/black) pigments in MELANOCYTES. Agouti protein antagonizes the signaling of MELANOCORTIN RECEPTORS and has wide distribution including ADIPOSE TISSUE; GONADS; and HEART. Its overexpression in agouti mice results in uniform yellow coat color, OBESITY, and metabolic defects similar to type II diabetes in humans.Uvea: The pigmented vascular coat of the eyeball, consisting of the CHOROID; CILIARY BODY; and IRIS, which are continuous with each other. (Cline et al., Dictionary of Visual Science, 4th ed)Receptor, Melanocortin, Type 1: A melanocortin receptor subtype found primarily in MELANOCYTES. It shows specificity for ALPHA-MSH and ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE. Loss of function mutations of the type 1 melanocortin receptor account for the majority of red hair and fair skin recessive traits in human.Skin Neoplasms: Tumors or cancer of the SKIN.Neural Crest: The two longitudinal ridges along the PRIMITIVE STREAK appearing near the end of GASTRULATION during development of nervous system (NEURULATION). The ridges are formed by folding of NEURAL PLATE. Between the ridges is a neural groove which deepens as the fold become elevated. When the folds meet at midline, the groove becomes a closed tube, the NEURAL TUBE.Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit: A protein-tyrosine kinase receptor that is specific for STEM CELL FACTOR. This interaction is crucial for the development of hematopoietic, gonadal, and pigment stem cells. Genetic mutations that disrupt the expression of PROTO-ONCOGENE PROTEINS C-KIT are associated with PIEBALDISM, while overexpression or constitutive activation of the c-kit protein-tyrosine kinase is associated with tumorigenesis.Nevus, Pigmented: A nevus containing melanin. The term is usually restricted to nevocytic nevi (round or oval collections of melanin-containing nevus cells occurring at the dermoepidermal junction of the skin or in the dermis proper) or moles, but may be applied to other pigmented nevi.Hermanski-Pudlak Syndrome: Syndrome characterized by the triad of oculocutaneous albinism (ALBINISM, OCULOCUTANEOUS); PLATELET STORAGE POOL DEFICIENCY; and lysosomal accumulation of ceroid lipofuscin.Ultraviolet Rays: That portion of the electromagnetic spectrum immediately below the visible range and extending into the x-ray frequencies. The longer wavelengths (near-UV or biotic or vital rays) are necessary for the endogenous synthesis of vitamin D and are also called antirachitic rays; the shorter, ionizing wavelengths (far-UV or abiotic or extravital rays) are viricidal, bactericidal, mutagenic, and carcinogenic and are used as disinfectants.Hair Follicle: A tube-like invagination of the EPIDERMIS from which the hair shaft develops and into which SEBACEOUS GLANDS open. The hair follicle is lined by a cellular inner and outer root sheath of epidermal origin and is invested with a fibrous sheath derived from the dermis. (Stedman, 26th ed) Follicles of very long hairs extend into the subcutaneous layer of tissue under the SKIN.PhenylthioureaSOXE Transcription Factors: A subclass of closely-related SOX transcription factors. Members of this subfamily have been implicated in regulating the differentiation of OLIGODENDROCYTES during neural crest formation and in CHONDROGENESIS.Keratinocytes: Epidermal cells which synthesize keratin and undergo characteristic changes as they move upward from the basal layers of the epidermis to the cornified (horny) layer of the skin. Successive stages of differentiation of the keratinocytes forming the epidermal layers are basal cell, spinous or prickle cell, and the granular cell.Stem Cell Factor: A hematopoietic growth factor and the ligand of the cell surface c-kit protein (PROTO-ONCOGENE PROTEINS C-KIT). It is expressed during embryogenesis and is a growth factor for a number of cell types including the MAST CELLS and the MELANOCYTES in addition to the HEMATOPOIETIC STEM CELLS.gp100 Melanoma Antigen: A melanosome-associated protein that plays a role in the maturation of the MELANOSOME.Cells, Cultured: Cells propagated in vitro in special media conducive to their growth. Cultured cells are used to study developmental, morphologic, metabolic, physiologic, and genetic processes, among others.Chromatophores: The large pigment cells of fish, amphibia, reptiles and many invertebrates which actively disperse and aggregate their pigment granules. These cells include MELANOPHORES, erythrophores, xanthophores, leucophores and iridiophores. (In algae, chromatophores refer to CHLOROPLASTS. In phototrophic bacteria chromatophores refer to membranous organelles (BACTERIAL CHROMATOPHORES).)Catechol Oxidase: An enzyme of the oxidoreductase class that catalyzes the reaction between catechol and oxygen to yield benzoquinone and water. It is a complex of copper-containing proteins that acts also on a variety of substituted catechols. EC Autosomal dominant, congenital disorder characterized by localized hypomelanosis of the skin and hair. The most familiar feature is a white forelock presenting in 80 to 90 percent of the patients. The underlying defect is possibly related to the differentiation and migration of melanoblasts, as well as to defective development of the neural crest (neurocristopathy). Piebaldism may be closely related to WAARDENBURG SYNDROME.Melanoma, Experimental: Experimentally induced tumor that produces MELANIN in animals to provide a model for studying human MELANOMA.MART-1 Antigen: A melanosome-specific protein that plays a role in the expression, stability, trafficking, and processing of GP100 MELANOMA ANTIGEN, which is critical to the formation of Stage II MELANOSOMES. The protein is used as an antigen marker for MELANOMA cells.Receptors, Melanocortin: A family of G-protein-coupled receptors that have specificity for MELANOCYTE-STIMULATING HORMONES and ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE. There are several subtypes of melanocortin receptors, each having a distinct ligand specificity profile and tissue localization.Cell Differentiation: Progressive restriction of the developmental potential and increasing specialization of function that leads to the formation of specialized cells, tissues, and organs.Melanosis: Disorders of increased melanin pigmentation that develop without preceding inflammatory disease.Receptors, Corticotropin: Cell surface receptors that bind CORTICOTROPIN; (ACTH, adrenocorticotropic hormone) with high affinity and trigger intracellular changes. Pharmacology suggests there may be multiple ACTH receptors. An ACTH receptor has been cloned and belongs to a subfamily of G-protein-coupled receptors. In addition to the adrenal cortex, ACTH receptors are found in the brain and immune systems.Albinism, Oculocutaneous: Heterogeneous group of autosomal recessive disorders comprising at least four recognized types, all having in common varying degrees of hypopigmentation of the skin, hair, and eyes. The two most common are the tyrosinase-positive and tyrosinase-negative types.Oxidoreductases: The class of all enzymes catalyzing oxidoreduction reactions. The substrate that is oxidized is regarded as a hydrogen donor. The systematic name is based on donor:acceptor oxidoreductase. The recommended name will be dehydrogenase, wherever this is possible; as an alternative, reductase can be used. Oxidase is only used in cases where O2 is the acceptor. (Enzyme Nomenclature, 1992, p9)Myosin Type V: A subclass of myosin involved in organelle transport and membrane targeting. It is abundantly found in nervous tissue and neurosecretory cells. The heavy chains of myosin V contain unusually long neck domains that are believed to aid in translocating molecules over large distances.Melanoma-Specific Antigens: Cellular antigens that are specific for MELANOMA cells.Stem Cells: Relatively undifferentiated cells that retain the ability to divide and proliferate throughout postnatal life to provide progenitor cells that can differentiate into specialized cells.