Mutations of the tyrosinase gene in oculocutaneous albinism.

S. Shibahara

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Since our first report showing that the phenotype of tyrosinase-negative or type IA oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) is a consequence of a mutation in the tyrosinase gene (Tomita et al., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 164:990-996, 1989), a number of mutations were found in the tyrosinase gene of OCA patients. However, to establish the molecular basis of OCA in each patient, we must carry out several important experiments as summarized here. First, we should confirm that the cloned or amplified genomic DNA segments are not derived from the pseudogene or related gene. It should be noted that the putative tyrosinase pseudogene contains the sequence almost identical to exons 4 and 5, including their exon/intron boundaries of the authentic tyrosinase gene. Thus, the mutations, detected in exon 4 or 5 amplified from genomic DNA, must be carefully analyzed to exclude a possibility that the mutation is located in the pseudogene. Second, it is of significance to confirm the promoter activity of the patients' tyrosinase gene. Accordingly, we established the cell-free transcription system derived from melanoma cells where the cloned tyrosinase gene is faithfully transcribed. Finally, transient expression assay of mutant tyrosinase is invaluable to conclude that OCA phenotypes are associated with the mutant tyrosinase alleles. I also discuss the implications of a cluster of mutation sites in exon 1 coding for the amino-terminus of tyrosinase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-283
Number of pages5
JournalPigment cell research / sponsored by the European Society for Pigment Cell Research and the International Pigment Cell Society
Issue number5 Pt 2
Publication statusPublished - 1992 Nov

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Developmental Biology


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