Griscelli disease maps to chromosome 15q21 and is associated with mutations in the myosin-Va gene
Chromosomes, Human, Pair 15
Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes
Griscelli disease (OMIM 214450) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by pigmentary dilution, variable cellular immunodeficiency and onset of acute phases of uncontrolled lymphocyte and macrophage activation, leading to death in the absence of bone-marrow transplantation. The pigmentary dilution is characterized by a diffuse skin pigmentation, silvery hair, large clumps of pigments in the hair shafts (Fig. 1) and an accumulation of melanosomes in melanocytes, with abnormal transfer of the melanin granules to the keratinocytes. Immunological abnormalities are characterized by absent delayed-type cutaneous hypersensitivity and an impaired natural-killer cell function. A similar disorder has been described in the dilute lethal mouse--which, however, differs by the occurrence of a severe neurological disorder. The dilute locus encodes myosin-Va, a member of the unconventional myosin family. Myosins bind actin and produce mechanical force through ATP hydrolysis. Some members of this family are thought to participate in organelle-transport machinery. Because of the phenotype resulting in the dilute mouse and because of their potential role in intracellular transport, unconventional myosin-encoding genes were regarded as candidate genes for Griscelli disease. Here we report that the Griscelli disease locus co-localizes on chromosome 15q21 with the myosin-Va gene, MYO5a, and that mutations of this gene occur in two patients with the disease. Griscelli disease is therefore a human equivalent of dilute expression in the mouse.