Sequence-Based Mapping and Genome Editing Reveal Mutations in Stickleback Hps5 Cause Oculocutaneous Albinism and the casper Phenotype

G3 (Bethesda). 2017 Sep 7;7(9):3123-3131. doi: 10.1534/g3.117.1125.


Here, we present and characterize the spontaneous X-linked recessive mutation casper, which causes oculocutaneous albinism in threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). In humans, Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome results in pigmentation defects due to disrupted formation of the melanin-containing lysosomal-related organelle (LRO), the melanosome. casper mutants display not only reduced pigmentation of melanosomes in melanophores, but also reductions in the iridescent silver color from iridophores, while the yellow pigmentation from xanthophores appears unaffected. We mapped casper using high-throughput sequencing of genomic DNA from bulked casper mutants to a region of the stickleback X chromosome (chromosome 19) near the stickleback ortholog of Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome 5 (Hps5). casper mutants have an insertion of a single nucleotide in the sixth exon of Hps5, predicted to generate an early frameshift. Genome editing using CRISPR/Cas9 induced lesions in Hps5 and phenocopied the casper mutation. Injecting single or paired Hps5 guide RNAs revealed higher incidences of genomic deletions from paired guide RNAs compared to single gRNAs. Stickleback Hps5 provides a genetic system where a hemizygous locus in XY males and a diploid locus in XX females can be used to generate an easily scored visible phenotype, facilitating quantitative studies of different genome editing approaches. Lastly, we show the ability to better visualize patterns of fluorescent transgenic reporters in Hps5 mutant fish. Thus, Hps5 mutations present an opportunity to study pigmented LROs in the emerging stickleback model system, as well as a tool to aid in assaying genome editing and visualizing enhancer activity in transgenic fish.

Keywords: Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome; albinism; genome editing; pigmentation; stickleback.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Albinism, Oculocutaneous / veterinary*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Embryonic Development / genetics
  • Female
  • Fish Diseases / genetics*
  • Gene Editing*
  • Genes, X-Linked
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genotype
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Pigmentation / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Carrier Proteins