dsu functions in a MYO5A-independent pathway to suppress the coat color of dilute mice

T. Norene O'Sullivan, Xufeng S. Wu, Rivka A. Rachel, Jiang Dong Huang, Deborah A. Swing, Lydia E. Matesic, John A. Hammer, Neal G. Copeland, Nancy A. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


MYO5A is a major actin-based vesicle transport motor that binds to one of its cargos, the melanosome, by means of a RAB27A/MLPH receptor. When one of the members of this receptor-motor complex is mutated, the melanosomes clump in the perinuclear region of the melanocyte and are transferred unevenly to the developing hair, leading to a dilution of coat color. Mutation of a fourth gene, dilute suppressor (dsu), suppresses this coat color dilution. MYO5A is required for the peripheral accumulation of melanosomes in melanocytes, but its role in melanosome transfer to neighboring keratinocytes and the hair is unknown. Here, we show that MYO5A is nonessential for melanosome transfer, although pigment incorporation into the hair in MYO5A-deficient mice is uneven, probably due to the clumping of melanosomes that occurs in the perinuclear region of mutant melanocytes. We also show that dsu is caused by a loss-of-function mutation in a unique vertebrate-specific protein that appears to function in an MYO5A-independent pathway to alter pigment incorporation into the hair. Therefore, dsu identifies a unique protein involved in pigmentation of the mammalian hair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16831-16836
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 30 2004


  • Melanosome transfer
  • Myosin 5A
  • Vesicle transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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