Purpose: Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) is characterized by oculocutaneous albinism, excessive bleeding, and often additional symptoms. Variants in ten different genes have been involved in HPS. However, some patients lack variants in these genes. We aimed to identify new genes involved in nonsyndromic or syndromic forms of albinism.
Methods: Two hundred thirty albinism patients lacking a molecular diagnosis of albinism were screened for pathogenic variants in candidate genes with known links to pigmentation or HPS pathophysiology.
Results: We identified two unrelated patients with distinct homozygous variants of the BLOC1S5 gene. Patients had mild oculocutaneous albinism, moderate bleeding diathesis, platelet aggregation deficit, and a dramatically decreased number of platelet dense granules, all signs compatible with HPS. Functional tests performed on platelets of one patient displayed an absence of the obligate multisubunit complex BLOC-1, showing that the variant disrupts BLOC1S5 function and impairs BLOC-1 assembly. Expression of the patient-derived BLOC1S5 deletion in nonpigmented murine Bloc1s5-/- melan-mu melanocytes failed to rescue pigmentation, the assembly of a functional BLOC-1 complex, and melanosome cargo trafficking, unlike the wild-type allele.
Conclusion: Mutation of BLOC1S5 is disease-causing, and we propose that BLOC1S5 is the gene for a new form of Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome, HPS-11.
Keywords: BLOC-1; BLOC1S5; Hermansky–Pudlak syndrome; albinism; pathogenic variant.