Chediak–Higashi Syndrome: A Rare Disorder of Lysosomes and Lysosome Related Organelles


Dr Diane McVey Ward Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132-2501. E-mail:


Chediak–Higashi Syndrome (CHS) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by severe immunologic defects including recurrent bacterial infections, impaired chemotaxis and abnormal natural killer (NK) cell function. Patients with this syndrome exhibit other symptoms such as an associated lymphoproliferative syndrome, bleeding tendencies, partial albinism and peripheral neuropathies. The classic diagnostic feature of CHS is the presence of huge lysosomes and cytoplasmic granules within cells. Similar defects are found in other mammals, the most well studied being the beige mouse and Aleutian mink. A positional cloning approach resulted in the identification of the Beige gene on chromosome 13 in mice and the CHS1/LYST gene on chromosome 1 in humans. The protein encoded by this gene is 3801 amino acids and is highly conserved throughout evolution. The identification of CHS1/Beige has defined a family of genes containing a common BEACH motif. The function of these proteins in vesicular trafficking remains unknown.