Pigment Cell (Melanocyte) Markers




Melanocyte is a pigment-producing cell in the skin, hair and eye that determines their color. The pigment that melanocytes make is called melanin. The major determinant of color is not the number but rather the activity of the melanocytes. Melanin production takes place in unique organelles (tiny structures within the cell) known as melanosomes. Darkly pigmented skin, hair and eyes have melanosomes that contain more melananin.




ETB (endothelin-B) receptor

  • major receptor in melanocytes and malignant melanoma (MM) cells. PMID: 11407477

HMB-45 (gp100)

L-PGDS (lipocalin-type prostaglandin D synthase)


  • a marker of pigment cell precursors during mouse embryonic development. PMID: 12128226


  • detect antigens present in melanosomes and promelanosomes later in the differentiation process. PMID: 7686497

Melan-A (A103)


  • melanoblast/melanocyte early marker. PMID: 7737377

  • detects melanoblasts as soon as they have reached the subectodermal mesenchyme. PMID: 7686497

Mitf (Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor)

  • a melanocytic nuclear protein critical for the embryonic development and postnatal viability of melanocytes. PMID: 10487831

  • a highly sensitive and specific histopathological melanocyte marker for melanoma. PMID: 10487831

  • a melanocyte-specific basic helix-loop-helix protein. PMID: 10080955

  • responsible for differentiation of melanocytes. PMID: 16337607



  • normal melanocytes were devoid of S-100 protein. PMID: 3101377

  • a useful marker for diagnosis of malignant melanoma. PMID: 3101377

  • a useful marker for identifying neoplasms derived from Schwann cells and melanocytes. PMID: 6278936

Tyrosinase (T4)

Tyrosinase-related proteins (TRPs)/gp75