Author(s): Manga P, Boissy RE, PifkoHirst S, Zhou BK, Orlow SJ, Manga P, Boissy RE, PifkoHirst S, Zhou BK, Orlow SJ
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Abstract More than 10\% of admissions worldwide to institutions for the visually impaired are due to some form of albinism. The most common form, oculocutaneous albinism type 2, results from mutations at the p locus. The function of the p gene is yet to be determined. It has been shown that melanocytes from p -null mice exhibit an abnormal melanosomal ultrastructure in addition to alterations in activity and localization of tyrosinase, a critical melanogenic enzyme. In light of these observations, we examined tyrosinase trafficking in p -null vs wildtype mouse melanocytes in order to explore p function. Electron microscopy of wildtype melan-a and p -null melan-p1 cells demonstrated accumulation of tyrosinase in 50 nm vesicles throughout the cell in the absence of p, an observation corroborated by an increase in tyrosinase activity in vesicle-enriched fractions from melan-p1 compared to melan-a cells. Misrouting in the absence of p was not limited to tyrosinase; a second melanosomal protein, tyrosinase-related protein 1, also trafficked incorrectly. In melan-p1, mislocalization led to secretion of tyrosinase into the medium. Adding tyrosine to the medium was found to partially correct tyrosinase trafficking and to reduce secretion; the cysteine protease inhibitor E64 also reduced secretion. We propose that p is required by melanocytes for transport of melanosomal proteins. In its absence, tyrosinase accumulates in vesicles and, in cultured melanocytes, is proteolysed and secreted. Copyright 2001 Academic Press.
This article was published in Exp Eye Res
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research