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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Dermatology - Physiology

A Spontaneous Fatp4/Scl27a4 Splice Site Mutation in a New Murine Model for Congenital Ichthyosis
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Author: Jianning Tao et al.

by Jianning Tao, Maranke I. Koster, Wilbur Harrison, Jennifer L. Moran, David R. Beier, Dennis R. Roop, Paul A. Overbeek

Congenital ichthyoses are life-threatening conditions in humans. We describe here the identification and molecular characterization of a novel recessive mutation in mice that results in newborn lethality with severe congenital lamellar ichthyosis. Mutant newborns have a taut, shiny, non-expandable epidermis that resembles cornified manifestations of autosomal-recessive congenital ichthyosis in humans. The skin is stretched so tightly that the newborn mice are immobilized. The genetic defect was mapped to a region near the proximal end of chromosome 2 by SNP analysis, suggesting Fatp4/Slc27a4 as a candidate gene. FATP4 mutations in humans cause ichthyosis prematurity syndrome (IPS), and mutations of Fatp4 in mice have previously been found to cause a phenotype that resembles human congenital ichthyoses. Characterization of the Fatp4 cDNA revealed a fusion of exon 8 to exon 10, with deletion of exon 9. Genomic sequencing identified an A to T mutation in the splice donor sequence at the 3'-end of exon 9. Loss of exon 9 results in a frame shift mutation upstream from the conserved very long-chain acyl-CoA synthase (VLACS) domain. Histological studies revealed that the mutant mice have defects in keratinocyte differentiation, along with hyperproliferation of the stratum basale of the epidermis, a hyperkeratotic stratum corneum, and reduced numbers of secondary hair follicles. Since Fatp4 protein is present primarily at the stratum granulosum and the stratum spinosum, the hyperproliferation and the alterations in hair follicle induction suggest that very long chain fatty acids, in addition to being required for normal cornification, may influence signals from the stratum corneum to the basal cells that help to orchestrate normal skin differentiation.
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