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Nat Genet. 2005 Jan;37(1):56-65. Epub 2004 Dec 26.

Spink5-deficient mice mimic Netherton syndrome through degradation of desmoglein 1 by epidermal protease hyperactivity.

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  • 1INSERM U563, Paul Sabatier University, Place du Dr Baylac, 31059 Toulouse, cedex 3, France.


Mutations in SPINK5, encoding the serine protease inhibitor LEKTI, cause Netherton syndrome, a severe autosomal recessive genodermatosis. Spink5(-/-) mice faithfully replicate key features of Netherton syndrome, including altered desquamation, impaired keratinization, hair malformation and a skin barrier defect. LEKTI deficiency causes abnormal desmosome cleavage in the upper granular layer through degradation of desmoglein 1 due to stratum corneum tryptic enzyme and stratum corneum chymotryptic enzyme-like hyperactivity. This leads to defective stratum corneum adhesion and resultant loss of skin barrier function. Profilaggrin processing is increased and implicates LEKTI in the cornification process. This work identifies LEKTI as a key regulator of epidermal protease activity and degradation of desmoglein 1 as the primary pathogenic event in Netherton syndrome.

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