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J Invest Dermatol. 2004 Feb;122(2):452-60.

Characterization of melanosomes in murine Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome: mechanisms of hypopigmentation.

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Department of Dermatology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94121, USA.


The Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome is a genetically heterogeneous autosomal recessive disorder affecting mice and humans, which causes oculocutaneous albinism, prolonged bleeding, and in some cases, pulmonary fibrosis or granulomatous colitis. We previously demonstrated that the gene defects causing murine Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome cause blocks in melanosome biogenesis and/or trafficking in 10 Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome strains. Here, we report an in vivo quantitative analysis on five additional murine models of the Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome. We demonstrate that all strains examined here except for ashen have defects in morphogenesis, the most severely affected is sandy, muted, and buff followed by subtle gray. The ashen strain only has a defect in secretion, as indicated by retention of melanosomes in melanocytes. We document three cellular mechanisms contributing to the hypopigmentation seen in the Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome: (1) exocytosis of immature hypopigmented melanosomes from melanocytes with subsequent keratinocyte uptake; (2) decreased intramelanocyte steady-state numbers of melanosomes available for transfer to keratinocytes; and (3) accumulation of melanosomes within melanocytes due to defective exocytosis, as seen in ashen. We also report that melanosomes in the DBA/2J strain, the parental strain of the Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome strain sandy, are abnormal, indicating that aberrant biogenesis of melanosomes may play a part in the pathogenesis of pigmentary glaucoma observed in these mice.

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