A method for studying the melanogenetic activity of pigment cells is described. Tissue is incubated in a medium containing tyrosine labelled with 14carbon. Tyrosine, being a precursor of melanin, is incorporated into the insoluble pigment. This can be detected in histological selections by radioautography. A measure of tyrosine uptake and, provided precautions are taken, of tyrosinase activity, can be gained by the use of this technique. There are advantages in using labelled, rather than ‘cold’ substrate.
This technique, developed by other workers, has been used with success; but difficulties arise in situations where intense pigmentation obscures the image of the superimposed radioautograph. Here consideration is given to the possible methods for circumventing this difficulty, and a satisfactory method for partially bleaching the pigment, without upsetting the radioautograph, is described in detail.
- Copyright © 1959 The Company of Biologists Ltd.