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Pigment Cell Res. 2005 Dec;18(6):417-26.

Membranous complexes characteristic of melanocytes derived from patients with Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome type 1 are macroautophagosomal entities of the lysosomal compartment.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA.


Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) is an autosomal recessive disorder resulting from mutations in a family of genes required for efficient transport of lysosomal-related proteins from the trans-Golgi network to a target organelle. To date, there are several genetically distinct forms of HPS. Many forms of HPS exhibit aberrant trafficking of melanosome-targeted proteins resulting in incomplete melanosome biogenesis responsible for oculocutaneous albinism observed in patients. In HPS-1, melanosome-targeted proteins are localized to characteristic membranous complexes, which have morphologic similarities to macroautophagosomes. In this report, we evaluated the hypothesis that HPS-1-specific membranous complexes comprise a component of the lysosomal compartment of melanocytes. Using indirect immunofluorescence, an increase in co-localization of misrouted tyrosinase with cathepsin-L, a lysosomal cysteine protease, occurred in HPS-1 melanocytes. In addition, ribophorin II, an integral endoplasmic reticulum protein that is also a component of macroautophagosomes, and LC3, a specific marker of macrophagosomes, demonstrated localization to membranous complexes in HPS-1 melanocytes. At the electron microscopic level, the membranous complexes exhibited acid phosphatase activity and localization of exogenously supplied horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-conjugated gold particles, indicating incorporation of lysosomal and endosomal components to membranous complexes, respectively. These results confirm that membranous complexes of HPS-1 melanocytes are macroautophagosomal representatives of the lysosomal compartment.

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