Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) is a clinically and genetically heterogenic group of pigmentation abnormalities. OCA type IV (OCA4, OMIM 606574) develops due to homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in the solute carrier family 45, member 2 (SLC45A2) gene. This gene encodes a membrane-associated transport protein, which regulates tyrosinase activity and, thus, melanin content by changing melanosomal pH and disrupting the incorporation of copper into tyrosinase.
Here we report two Hungarian siblings affected by an unusual OCA4 phenotype. After genomic DNA was isolated from peripheral blood of the patients, the coding regions of the SLC45A2 gene were sequenced. In silico tools were applied to identify the functional impact of the newly detected mutations.
Direct sequencing of the SLC45A2 gene revealed two novel, heterozygous mutations, one missense (c.1226G > A, p.Gly409Asp) and one nonsense (c.1459C > T, p.Gln437*), which were present in both patients, suggesting the mutations were compound heterozygous. In silico tools suggest that these variations are disease causing mutations.
The newly identified mutations may affect the transmembrane domains of the protein, and could impair transport function, resulting in decreases in both melanosomal pH and tyrosinase activity. Our study provides expands on the mutation spectrum of the SLC45A2 gene and the genetic background of OCA4.