by Shelly Oommen, Mathias Francois, Maiko Kawasaki, Melanie Murrell, Katsushige Kawasaki, Thantrira Porntaveetus, Sarah Ghafoor, Neville J. Young, Yoshimasa Okamatsu, John McGrath, Peter Koopman, Paul T. Sharpe, Atsushi Ohazama
Hemidesmosomes are composed of intricate networks of proteins, that are an essential attachment apparatus for the integrity of epithelial tissue. Disruption leads to blistering diseases such as epidermolysis bullosa. Members of the Sox gene family show dynamic and diverse expression patterns during development and mutation analyses in humans and mice provide evidence that they play a remarkable variety of roles in development and human disease. Previous studies have established that the mouse mutant ragged-opossum (Raop) expresses a dominant-negative form of the SOX18 transcription factor that interferes with the function of wild type SOX18 and of the related SOXF-subgroup proteins SOX7 and -17. Here we show that skin and oral mucosa in homozygous Raop mice display extensive detachment of epithelium from the underlying mesenchymal tissue, caused by tearing of epithelial cells just above the plasma membrane due to hemidesmosome disruption. In addition, several hemidesmosome proteins expression were found to be dysregulated in the Raop mice. Our data suggest that SOXF transcription factors play a role in regulating formation of cytoplasmic plaque protein assembly, and that disrupted SOXF function results in epidermolysis bullosa-like skin phenotypes.