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J Invest Dermatol. 2004 Mar;122(3):730-8.

A 4.2 kb upstream region of the human corneodesmosin gene directs site-specific expression in hair follicles and hyperkeratotic epidermis of transgenic mice.

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UMR 5165 CNRS-UPS Epidermis Differentiation and Rheumatoid Autoimmunity, Purpan School of Medicine, Toulouse III University, Toulouse, France.


Corneodesmosin (CDSN) is a desmosomal protein expressed in the epidermis during the late stages of differentiation and in the inner root sheath of hair follicles. The homophilic adhesive properties of the protein suggest that it reinforces keratinocyte cohesion in the upper layers of the epidermis (stratum granulosum and stratum corneum). In this study, we analyzed the expression of the CDSN gene in 16 human tissues. We confirmed the closely restricted expression pattern of CSDN. Indeed, apart from the skin, the mRNA was significantly detected only in the placenta and the thymus. As a step in elucidating the mechanisms of tissue-specific expression, transgenic mice bearing a 4.2 kb fragment of the human CSDN gene promoter linked to the LacZ gene were generated. The reporter-gene expression was detected in special areas of the inner root sheath of the hair follicles and the hair medulla but not in the epidermis. Induction of epidermis hyperproliferation however either by pharmacological agents or by wounding led to strong expression of the reporter gene in the keratinocytes of the stratum granulosum and the parakeratotic corneocytes of the stratum corneum. The data suggest that the genomic sequences and/or regulating factors responsible for the cell-specific expression of the human CDSN gene in the normal hair follicle as well as in the hyperproliferative epidermis are different from those necessary for expression in the normal epidermis.

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