Published Date: August 23, 2002

Full Text Article

Coexpression of wild-type tyrosinase enhances maturation of temperature-sensitive tyrosinase mutants

Authors: Ruth Halaban, Elaine Cheng, Daniel N Hebert

J Invest Dermatol. 2002 Aug;119(2):481-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.2002.01824.x.


Tyrosinase is a type I membrane glycoprotein whose activity is essential for melanin synthesis. Loss of function mutations in tyrosinase is the cause of oculocutaneous albinism 1. In the milder oculocutaneous albinism 1B form in which mutant proteins retain residual activity, the severity of albinism depends on the type of mutations expressed in the melanocyte. In this study, we show that coexpression of wild-type protein with temperature-sensitive tyrosinase mutants corrects the mutant conformation defect in an activity-dependent manner. Exit from the endoplasmic reticulum and complex carbohydrate processing in the Golgi was promoted when temperature-sensitive tyrosinase mutants were ectopically expressed in host melanocytes carrying wild-type protein even at the nonpermissive temperature. Incubation of transfected melanocytes with DOPA (the cofactor and substrate for tyrosinase), or tyrosine (the substrate), further enhanced processing of ectopic mutant proteins. The analysis of glycosylation-deficient mutants revealed regions in tyrosinase with high, low, and intermediate dependency on glycans for maturation. We concluded that the presence of tyrosinase activity enhances the maturation of temperature-sensitive and glycosylation-deficient forms of tyrosinase. The results may explain the variation in pigmentation and the development of pigment later in life in patients carrying different mutant alleles of oculocutaneous albinism 1B.

PMID: 12190874DOI: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.2002.01824.x