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Aliases MLPH, SLAC2-A, melanophilin
External IDs OMIM: 606526 MGI: 2176380 HomoloGene: 11465 GeneCards: MLPH
Species Human Mouse
RefSeq (mRNA)



RefSeq (protein)



Location (UCSC) Chr 2: 237.49 – 237.56 Mb Chr 1: 90.92 – 90.95 Mb
PubMed search [1] [2]
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Melanophilin is a carrier protein which in humans is encoded by the MLPH gene.[3][4] Several alternatively spliced transcript variants of this gene have been described, but the full-length nature of some of these variants has not been determined.


This gene encodes a member of the exophilin subfamily of Rab effector proteins. The protein forms a ternary complex with the small Ras-related GTPase Rab27A in its GTP-bound form and the motor protein myosin Va.[5] A similar protein complex in mouse functions to tether pigment-producing organelles called melanosomes to the actin cytoskeleton in melanocytes, and is required for visible pigmentation in the hair and skin.[6]

In melanocytic cells MLPH gene expression may be regulated by MITF.[7]

Clinical significance[edit]

A mutation in this gene results in Griscelli syndrome type 3, which is characterized by a silver-gray hair color and abnormal pigment distribution in the hair shaft.

Mutations in melanophilin cause the "dilute" coat color phenotype in dogs[8] and cats.[9] Variation in this gene appears to have been a target for recent natural selection in humans, and it has been hypothesized that this is due to a role in human pigmentation.[10]


  1. ^ "Human PubMed Reference:". 
  2. ^ "Mouse PubMed Reference:". 
  3. ^ Matesic LE, Yip R, Reuss AE, Swing DA, O'Sullivan TN, Fletcher CF, Copeland NG, Jenkins NA (August 2001). "Mutations in Mlph, encoding a member of the Rab effector family, cause the melanosome transport defects observed in leaden mice". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 98 (18): 10238–43. PMC 56945Freely accessible. PMID 11504925. doi:10.1073/pnas.181336698. 
  4. ^ Strom M, Hume AN, Tarafder AK, Barkagianni E, Seabra MC (July 2002). "A family of Rab27-binding proteins. Melanophilin links Rab27a and myosin Va function in melanosome transport". J. Biol. Chem. 277 (28): 25423–30. PMID 11980908. doi:10.1074/jbc.M202574200. 
  5. ^ Nagashima K, Torii S, Yi Z, Igarashi M, Okamoto K, Takeuchi T, Izumi T (April 2002). "Melanophilin directly links Rab27a and myosin Va through its distinct coiled-coil regions". FEBS Lett. 517 (1–3): 233–8. PMID 12062444. doi:10.1016/S0014-5793(02)02634-0. 
  6. ^ "Entrez Gene: MLPH Melanophilin". 
  7. ^ Hoek KS, Schlegel NC, Eichhoff OM, et al. (2008). "Novel MITF targets identified using a two-step DNA microarray strategy". Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 21 (6): 665–76. PMID 19067971. doi:10.1111/j.1755-148X.2008.00505.x. 
  8. ^ Drögemüller C, Philipp U, Haase B, Günzel-Apel AR, Leeb T (2007). "A noncoding melanophilin gene (MLPH) SNP at the splice donor of exon 1 represents a candidate causal mutation for coat color dilution in dogs". J. Hered. 98 (5): 468–73. PMID 17519392. doi:10.1093/jhered/esm021. 
  9. ^ Ishida Y, David VA, Eizirik E, Schäffer AA, Neelam BA, Roelke ME, Hannah SS, O'brien SJ, Menotti-Raymond M (December 2006). "A homozygous single-base deletion in MLPH causes the dilute coat color phenotype in the domestic cat". Genomics. 88 (6): 698–705. PMID 16860533. doi:10.1016/j.ygeno.2006.06.006. 
  10. ^ Pickrell JK, Coop G, Novembre J, Kudaravalli S, Li JZ, Absher D, Srinivasan BS, Barsh GS, Myers RM, Feldman MW, Pritchard JK (May 2009). "Signals of recent positive selection in a worldwide sample of human populations". Genome Res. 19 (5): 826–37. PMC 2675971Freely accessible. PMID 19307593. doi:10.1101/gr.087577.108. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

This article incorporates text from the United States National Library of Medicine, which is in the public domain.