The TYR gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme is located in melanocytes, which are specialized cells that produce a pigment called melanin. Melanin is the substance that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color. Melanin is also found in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (the retina), where it plays a role in normal vision.
Tyrosinase is responsible for the first step in melanin production. It converts a protein building block (amino acid) called tyrosine to another compound called dopaquinone. A series of additional chemical reactions convert dopaquinone to melanin in the skin, hair follicles, the colored part of the eye (the iris), and the retina.
Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes
More than 100 mutations in the TYR gene have been identified in people with oculocutaneous albinism type 1. These mutations disrupt the normal production of melanin, which reduces coloring of the hair, skin, and eyes and causes problems with vision. Most TYR mutations eliminate the activity of tyrosinase, preventing melanocytes from producing any melanin throughout life. These mutations cause a form of oculocutaneous albinism called type 1A (OCA1A). People with this form of albinism have white hair, light-colored eyes, and very pale skin that does not tan. Other mutations in the TYR gene reduce but do not eliminate tyrosinase activity. These mutations, which allow some melanin to be produced, cause oculocutaneous albinism type 1B (OCA1B). People with type 1B are also born with white hair, light-colored eyes, and pale skin, but hair and eye color often darken over time and skin may tan.More About This Health Condition
MedlinePlus Genetics provides information about MelanomaMore About This Health Condition
Other Names for This Gene
- Monophenol monooxygenase
- Tumor Rejection Antigen AB
Additional Information & Resources
Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry
Scientific Articles on PubMed
Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM
- King RA, Pietsch J, Fryer JP, Savage S, Brott MJ, Russell-Eggitt I, Summers CG, Oetting WS. Tyrosinase gene mutations in oculocutaneous albinism 1 (OCA1): definition of the phenotype. Hum Genet. 2003 Nov;113(6):502-13. doi: 10.1007/s00439-003-0998-1. Epub 2003 Sep 10. Citation on PubMed
- Lewis RA. Oculocutaneous Albinism Type 1 - RETIRED CHAPTER, FOR HISTORICAL REFERENCE ONLY. 2000 Jan 19 [updated 2013 May 16]. In: Adam MP, Mirzaa GM, Pagon RA, Wallace SE, Bean LJH, Gripp KW, Amemiya A, editors. GeneReviews(R) [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2023. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1166/ Citation on PubMed
- Murisier F, Beermann F. Genetics of pigment cells: lessons from the tyrosinase gene family. Histol Histopathol. 2006 May;21(5):567-78. doi: 10.14670/HH-21.567. Citation on PubMed
- Oetting WS, Fryer JP, Shriram S, King RA. Oculocutaneous albinism type 1: the last 100 years. Pigment Cell Res. 2003 Jun;16(3):307-11. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0749.2003.00045.x. Citation on PubMed
- Oetting WS. The tyrosinase gene and oculocutaneous albinism type 1 (OCA1): A model for understanding the molecular biology of melanin formation. Pigment Cell Res. 2000 Oct;13(5):320-5. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0749.2000.130503.x. Citation on PubMed
- Opitz S, Kasmann-Kellner B, Kaufmann M, Schwinger E, Zuhlke C. Detection of 53 novel DNA variations within the tyrosinase gene and accumulation of mutations in 17 patients with albinism. Hum Mutat. 2004 Jun;23(6):630-1. doi: 10.1002/humu.9248. Citation on PubMed
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