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Accelerated phase in partial albinism with immunodeficiency (Griscelli syndrome): genetics and stem cell transplantation in a 2-month-old girl.

A 2-month-old girl presented with fever, hepatosplenomegaly, pancytopenia, hypertriglyceridaemia and silvery-greyish hair, suggesting the diagnosis of Griscelli syndrome (partial albinism with immunodeficiency). This diagnosis was confirmed by the characteristic agglomeration of melanin in the hair shaft and accumulation of melanosomes in melanocytes of the skin. The patient was homozygous for polymorphic markers around the myosin-Va gene on chromosome 15q21, which co-localize to the Griscelli disease locus. Natural-killer cells were in the lower range. The stimulation of lymphocytes with antigen and mitogen was normal. The patient's accelerated phase, characterized by haemophagocytosis was treated with prednisolone, rabbit anti-thymocyte globulins, and intrathecal methotrexate. Remission was maintained with cyclosporin A until HLA-compatible peripheral blood stem cell transplantation from her mother.

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The Pmel 17/silver locus protein. Characterization and investigation of its melanogenic function.

The silver mutation in mice causes progressive graying of hair due to the loss of functional follicular melanocytes. Recently the silver locus gene (called Pmel 17) has been cloned; its encoded product shares homology with a chick melanosomal matrix protein and a bovine retinal pigment epithelial protein. Although the sequence of the silver gene and the correlation of its expression with pigment production have been reported, its function in melanogenesis is still unknown. In an effort to characterize that function, we have synthesized the predicted carboxyl-terminal peptide of the mouse Pmel 17 protein and generated a rabbit polyclonal antibody (alpha PEP13) to it; that antibody recognized the silver protein specifically. The immunoaffinity-purified silver protein lacked all of the known melanogenic catalytic activities which other tyrosinase-related proteins (TRP) have, nor did it appear to modulate any of those TRP activities. Metabolic labeling experiments demonstrated that the silver protein disappears in vivo within a few hours, indicating that it is rapidly degraded, or quickly processed to lose its carboxyl terminus. Cross-reactivity experiments showed that a recently reported anti-melanosomal matrix protein antibody (alpha MX) also recognizes the silver protein, although at a different epitope from that of alpha PEP13. Using Western immunoblotting, we analyzed subcellular fractions isolated from B16 F10 melanoma cells and found that the silver protein was rich in the melanosome fraction but was absent from coated vesicles which deliver TRPs to melanosomes. These results suggest that the silver locus product is a melanosomal matrix protein which may contribute to melanogenesis as a structural protein, although the possibility remains that it also has a novel catalytic function in melanogenesis.

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Identification of a cDNA coding for a Ca(2+)-binding phosphoprotein (p90), calnexin, on melanosomes in normal and malignant human melanocytes.

In order to have a proper biosynthesis and secretion of the melanin-pigment granules (melanosomes) the melanocyte may require a melanosome-associated molecule that provides a signal for assembly and organization of melanogenic enzymes and proteins within the compartment of melanosomes. This study reports the presence of a Ca(2+)-binding phosphoprotein, p90, which can be engaged in such melanogenic function, located on the melanosomal membrane of human melanocytes. A human melanoma cDNA expression library in lambda Zap II was screened with a rabbit polyclonal antibody raised against human melanosomes isolated from cultured human melanoma cells, SK MEL 23. A cDNA encoding a melanosomal protein, M(r) 90 kDa, was identified through this immunoscreening. A partial sequencing of nucleotides (822 bp from the N-terminal domain) of this clone (3.8 kb) and predicted amino acids showed more than 90% homology with dog calnexin, a previously reported endoplasmic reticulum (ER) transmembrane protein. A fusion protein of this p90 with beta-galactosidase expressed in Escherichia coli revealed both the immuno-cross-reactivity with anti-dog calnexin and anti-human melanosome antibodies and the Ca(2+)-binding property. Upon immunohistochemistry, the anti-dog calnexin antibody revealed the positive immunoreactivities with both normal and malignant human melanocytes, showing a much higher expression of antigenic epitope than nonmelanocytic human cells. The laser scanning confocal immunofluorescence, using an antibody against a human melanosome-specific antigen (HMSA-5), and immunoelectron microscopy, using immunogold, confirmed the major localization of anti-dog calnexin antibody epitope on the melanosomes and ER.

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cDNA-based functional domains of a calnexin-like melanosomal protein, p90.

We have recently identified a gene encoding a calnexin-like protein (p90) by the immunoscreening of a human melanoma cDNA library, using a rabbit anti-human melanosomal antibody. This p90 protein was highly expressed by human melanocytes and associated with melanosomal membrane and endoplasmic reticulum. In this study we report the computer analysis of the predicted amino acid sequence of this calnexin-like melanosomal protein. We found that p90 is a membrane-bound protein whose large N-terminal domain is located within the melanosomal compartment; its shorter C-terminal is exposed to the cytosol and separated by a short transmembrane region. This p90 protein was found to have consensus sequences of a Ca(2+)-binding loop and a protein kinase C phosphorylation site at the N-terminal domain. The C-terminal domain, on the other hand, contained sequences of a casein kinase II phosphorylation site and two protein kinase A phosphorylation sites. Such functional motifs could provide signal transduction across the melanosomal membrane, the reception of melanogenic protein via carriers at the melanosomal membrane and the translocation of melanosomes in the melanocyte.

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HMB-45 antibody demonstrates melanosome specificity by immunoelectron microscopy.

The intracellular localization of antigenic sites recognized by the monoclonal antibody HMB-45 was investigated in melanomas of the choroid and skin by postembedding immunoelectron microscopy. Antigenic sites were detected by a three-step procedure, consisting of incubating sections with the monoclonal HMB-45 antibody (protein G affinity-purified ascites from Enzo Diagnostics Inc or tissue culture supernatant from Dako Corp), followed by incubation with an affinity-purified rabbit anti-mouse IgG and finally with protein A-gold complex. Gold particles, indicative of HMB-45 immunoreactivity, were restricted to melanosomes in the malignant melanocytes. Early stages in melanosome formation (stages I through III) were most intensely stained, while late-stage melanosomes (stage IV) were only sparsely labeled or not stained at all. Melanophages adjacent to a cutaneous melanoma showed intense immunoreactivity in the cytoplasm and especially over electron-dense portions of lysosomes with the HMB-45 antibody from Enzo. In marked contrast, only very sparse labeling was detected over melanophages using a similar concentration of the HMB-45 antibody from Dako. Subsequently, when the Enzo antibody was diluted 40 times above the recommended working dilution, most of the melanophage staining disappeared, while melanocyte-specific staining was maintained. Immunolabeling of melanosomes with HMB-45 was drastically reduced or absent following section pretreatment with neuraminidase, confirming an earlier report that the HMB-45 antigen is partially composed of sialic acid. Our immunoelectron microscopic results show that HMB-45 antibody specifically stains melanosomes, rather than diffuse cytoplasmic antigen, as described by light microscopic immunohistochemical analysis, thus explaining its specificity for melanocytes. In addition, the elimination of HMB-45 immunoreactivity by neuraminidase pretreatment supports the idea that sialylation of antigen is crucial to HMB-45 binding, and suggests that the absence of staining in normal adult melanocytes, dermal nevi, and other melanocytic lesions may be a result of differential sialylation.

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Anti-macrophage antiserum in the treatment of experimentally induced incontinentia pigmenti histologica.

To facilitate the removal of dermal melanin which is located in melanophages of the skin, we studied the effect of anti-macrophage antiserum on the elimination of dermal melanin in incontinentia pigmenti histologica. Although a pronounced inflammatory reaction was produced at the sites injected with the antiserum, no significant decrease in the amounts of radioactive melanosomes was observed at the injected sites. The failure of the intradermal injection of the antiserum to remove melanin pigment could have been due to the very low mobility of the newly recruited macrophages.

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Binding specificity of guinea pig anti-alpha-keratin polypeptide sera on human keratinocytes: comparison of their receptors with those of human epidermal cytoplasmic antibodies.

Experimental anti-keratin polypeptide sera (KPS) which were prepared by immunizing guinea pigs with the P1 polypeptide (molecular weight: 67 0000 dalton) of alpha-keratin of normal human stratum corneum, were shown to react in immunofluorescence only to cell cytoplasmic antigen of the upper layers of the epidermis. No staining was detected in the basal layer. An immunolabeling performed on free epidermal cells obtained after trypsinization demonstrated by electron microscopy that receptors for KPS were tonofilaments. Minor proportions of negative cells containing tonofilaments and numerous melanosomes detected might correspond to the basal cells. An IF pattern similar to that seen with KPS was observed with some human epidermal cytoplasmic sera (ECS). However, reciprocal blocking tests performed on both rabbit lip and normal human skin with the different sera showed no inhibition. No cross-reaction was detected by immunodiffusion test between whole purified alpha-keratin and human ECS. In electron microscopy, the receptors for ECS appeared not to be keratin-like, but were located on a granular part of the peripheral keratinocyte cytoplasm. These findings confirmed two steps (basal and malphighian layers) in epidermal differentiation defined by antigenic markers and especially by the alpha-keratin component of MW 67 000 d present in normal stratum corneum.

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