Loss of strumpellin in the melanocytic lineage impairs the WASH Complex but does not affect coat colour

Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2016 Sep;29(5):559-71. doi: 10.1111/pcmr.12506.


The five-subunit WASH complex generates actin networks that participate in endocytic trafficking, migration and invasion in various cell types. Loss of one of the two subunits WASH or strumpellin in mice is lethal, but little is known about their role in mammals in vivo. We explored the role of strumpellin, which has previously been linked to hereditary spastic paraplegia, in the mouse melanocytic lineage. Strumpellin knockout in melanocytes revealed abnormal endocytic vesicle morphology but no impairment of migration in vitro or in vivo and no change in coat colour. Unexpectedly, WASH and filamentous actin could still localize to vesicles in the absence of strumpellin, although the shape and size of vesicles was altered. Blue native PAGE revealed the presence of two distinct WASH complexes, even in strumpellin knockout cells, revealing that the WASH complex can assemble and localize to endocytic compartments in cells in the absence of strumpellin.

Keywords: actin dynamics; endocytic trafficking; melanocytes; migration; vesicle traffic.

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Hair Color / physiology*
  • Male
  • Melanocytes / metabolism*
  • Melanocytes / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins / metabolism*


  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • WASH protein, mouse
  • WASHC5 protein, human