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Nat Genet. 2002 Mar;30(3):321-4. Epub 2002 Feb 11.

Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome is caused by mutations in HPS4, the human homolog of the mouse light-ear gene.

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Human Medical Genetics Program, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.


Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) is a disorder of organelle biogenesis in which oculocutaneous albinism, bleeding and pulmonary fibrosis result from defects of melanosomes, platelet dense granules and lysosomes. HPS is common in Puerto Rico, where it is caused by mutations in the genes HPS1 and, less often, HPS3 (ref. 8). In contrast, only half of non-Puerto Rican individuals with HPS have mutations in HPS1 (ref. 9), and very few in HPS3 (ref. 10). In the mouse, more than 15 loci manifest mutant phenotypes similar to human HPS, including pale ear (ep), the mouse homolog of HPS1 (refs 13,14). Mouse ep has a phenotype identical to another mutant, light ear (le), which suggests that the human homolog of le is a possible human HPS locus. We have identified and found mutations of the human le homolog, HPS4, in a number of non-Puerto Rican individuals with HPS, establishing HPS4 as an important HPS locus in humans. In addition to their identical phenotypes, le and ep mutant mice have identical abnormalities of melanosomes, and in transfected melanoma cells the HPS4 and HPS1 proteins partially co-localize in vesicles of the cell body. In addition, the HPS1 protein is absent in tissues of le mutant mice. These results suggest that the HPS4 and HPS1 proteins may function in the same pathway of organelle biogenesis.

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