Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Biol Cell. 2001 Jul;12(7):2075-85.

AP-3 mediates tyrosinase but not TRP-1 trafficking in human melanocytes.

Author information

  • 1Section on Human Biochemical Genetics, Heritable Disorders Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Patients with Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome type 2 (HPS-2) have mutations in the beta 3A subunit of adaptor complex-3 (AP-3) and functional deficiency of this complex. AP-3 serves as a coat protein in the formation of new vesicles, including, apparently, the platelet's dense body and the melanocyte's melanosome. We used HPS-2 melanocytes in culture to determine the role of AP-3 in the trafficking of the melanogenic proteins tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related protein-1 (TRP-1). TRP-1 displayed a typical melanosomal pattern in both normal and HPS-2 melanocytes. In contrast, tyrosinase exhibited a melanosomal (i.e., perinuclear and dendritic) pattern in normal cells but only a perinuclear pattern in the HPS-2 melanocytes. In addition, tyrosinase exhibited a normal pattern of expression in HPS-2 melanocytes transfected with a cDNA encoding the beta 3A subunit of the AP-3 complex. This suggests a role for AP-3 in the normal trafficking of tyrosinase to premelanosomes, consistent with the presence of a dileucine recognition signal in the C-terminal portion of the tyrosinase molecule. In the AP-3-deficient cells, tyrosinase was also present in structures resembling late endosomes or multivesicular bodies; these vesicles contained exvaginations devoid of tyrosinase. This suggests that, under normal circumstances, AP-3 may act on multivesicular bodies to form tyrosinase-containing vesicles destined to fuse with premelanosomes. Finally, our studies demonstrate that tyrosinase and TRP-1 use different mechanisms to reach their premelanosomal destination.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk