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J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Jun;124(6):1193-9.

Autosomal dominant cutis laxa with severe lung disease: synthesis and matrix deposition of mutant tropoelastin.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.


Cutis laxa (CL) is a heterogeneous group of genetic and acquired disorders with at least two autosomal dominant forms caused by mutations in the elastin and fibulin-5 genes, respectively. To define the molecular basis of CL in patients negative for point mutations in the elastin gene, metabolic labeling and immunoprecipitation experiments were used to study the synthesis of elastin in dermal fibroblasts. In addition to the normal 68 kDa tropoelastin (TE) protein, an abnormal, 120 kDa polypeptide was detected in the proband and her affected daughter in a CL family characterized by hernias and unusually severe and early-onset pulmonary disease including bronchiectasis and pulmonary emphysema. Mutational and gene expression studies established that affected individuals in this family carried a partial tandem duplication in the elastin locus. Immunoprecipitation experiments showed that the mutant TE was partially secreted and partially retained intracellularly. A polyclonal antibody raised against a unique peptide in the mutant TE molecule showed both intracellular and matrix staining. We conclude that elastin mutations can cause CL associated with a severe pulmonary phenotype. Synthesis of abnormal TE may interfere with elastic fiber function through a dominant-negative or a gain of function mechanism.

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