Combined deficiency of RAB32 and RAB38 in the mouse mimics Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome and critically impairs thrombosis

Alicia Aguilar, Josiane Weber, Julie Boscher, Monique Freund, Catherine Ziessel, Anita Eckly, Stéphanie Magnenat, Catherine Bourdon, Béatrice Hechler, Pierre H. Mangin, Christian Gachet, François Lanza and Catherine Léon

Key Points

  • Contrary to rat platelets, mouse platelets express both RAB32 and RAB38 that play fully redundant roles for dense granule biogenesis.

  • Combined RAB32 and RAB38 deficiency mimics severe Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome with albinism and profound defects in hemostasis.


The biogenesis of lysosome related organelles is defective in Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS), a disorder characterized by oculocutaneous albinism and platelet dense granule (DG) defects. The first animal model of HPS was the fawn-hooded rat, harboring a spontaneous mutation inactivating the small guanosine triphosphatase Rab38. This leads to coat color dilution associated with the absence of DGs and lung morphological defects. Another RAB38 mutant, the cht mouse, has normal DGs, which has raised controversy about the role of RAB38 in DG biogenesis. We show here that murine and human, but not rat, platelets also express the closely related RAB32. To elucidate the parts played by RAB32 and RAB38 in the biogenesis of DGs in vivo and their effects on platelet functions, we generated mice inactivated for Rab32, Rab38, and both genes. Single Rab38 inactivation mimicked cht mice, whereas single Rab32 inactivation had no effect in DGs, coat color, or lung morphology. By contrast, Rab32/38 double inactivation mimicked severe HPS, with strong coat and eye pigment dilution, some enlarged lung multilamellar bodies associated with a decrease in the number of DGs. These organelles were morphologically abnormal, decreased in number, and devoid of 5-hydroxytryptamine content. In line with the storage pool defect, platelet activation was affected, resulting in severely impaired thrombus growth and prolongation of the bleeding time. Overall, our study demonstrates the absence of impact of RAB38 or RAB32 single deficiency in platelet biogenesis and function resulting from full redundancy, and characterized a new mouse model mimicking HPS devoid of DG content.

  • Submitted January 8, 2019.
  • Accepted July 1, 2019.
View Full Text