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J Invest Dermatol. 1994 Nov;103(5 Suppl):137S-140S.

Molecular basis of human piebaldism.

Author information

  • Department of Medical Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


Piebaldism is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder of pigmentation characterized by congenital patches of white skin and hair that lack melanocytes. Piebaldism results from mutations of the KIT proto-oncogene, which encodes the cell-surface receptor transmembrane tyrosine kinase for an embryonic growth factor, Steel factor. Several pathologic mutations of the KIT gene have now been identified in different patients with piebaldism. Correlation of these mutations with the associated piebald phenotypes has led to the recognition of a hierarchy of three classes of mutations that result in a graded series of piebald phenotypes, and to improved understanding of the mechanisms that underlie dominant genetic disorders.

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