Molecular genetics and metabolism

A novel missense mutation (G43S) in the switch I region of Rab27A causing Griscelli syndrome.

PMID 18397837


The autosomal recessive Griscelli syndrome type II (GSII) is caused by mutations in the RAB27A gene. Typical clinical features include immunological impairment, silver-gray scalp hair, eyelashes and eyebrows and hypomelanosis of the skin. Rabs help determine the specificity of membrane trafficking steps within cells. In melanocytes, the GTP-bound form of Rab27A associates with the membranes of mature fully-pigmented melanosomes through its geranylgeranyl group. Once attached, Rab27A recruits the downstream effector Melanophilin (Mlph) and the actin-dependent motor protein Myosin Va (MyoVa). The molecular Rab27A/Mlph/MyoVA tripartite complex, which links melanosomes to the peripheral actin network, is required to achieve melanosome transfer to surrounding keratinocytes in the epidermis. Here we report a novel homozygous missense mutation c.127G>A, p.G43S in exon 2 of the RAB27A gene of an Afghani GSII patient. Laser scanning confocal microscopy showed that the G43S mutation, which is located in the highly conserved switch I region of Rab27A, induces perinuclear localization of melanosomes in normal melanocytes, and fails to restore melanosomes to the actin-rich periphery in GSII melanocytes. Co-immunoprecipitation studies showed that Rab27A(G43S) fails to interact with its effector Melanophilin, indicating that the switch I region functions in the recruitment of Rab effector proteins.