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The repeat domain of the melanosomal matrix protein PMEL17/GP100 is required for the formation of organellar fibers.

Hoashi T., Muller J., Vieira W.D., Rouzaud F., Kikuchi K., Tamaki K., Hearing V.J.

Over 125 pigmentation-related genes have been identified to date. Of those, PMEL17/GP100 has been widely studied as a melanoma-specific antigen as well as a protein required for the formation of fibrils in melanosomes. PMEL17 is synthesized, glycosylated, processed, and delivered to melanosomes, allowing them to mature from amorphous round vesicles to elongated fibrillar structures. In contrast to other melanosomal proteins such as TYR and TYRP1, the processing and sorting of PMEL17 is highly complex. Monoclonal antibody HMB45 is commonly used for melanoma detection, but has the added advantage that it specifically reacts with sialylated PMEL17 in the fibrillar matrix in melanosomes. In this study, we generated mutant forms of PMEL17 to clarify the subdomain of PMEL17 required for formation of the fibrillar matrix, a process critical to pigmentation. The internal proline/serine/threonine-rich repeat domain (called the RPT domain) of PMEL17 undergoes variable proteolytic cleavage. Deletion of the RPT domain abolished its recognition by HMB45 and its capacity to form fibrils. Truncation of the C-terminal domain did not significantly affect the processing or trafficking of PMEL17, but, in contrast, deletion of the N-terminal domain abrogated both. We conclude that the RPT domain is essential for its function in generating the fibrillar matrix of melanosomes and that the luminal domain is necessary for its correct processing and trafficking to those organelles.

J. Biol. Chem. 281:21198-21208(2006) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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