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Br J Dermatol. 2008 Jan;158(1):38-44. Epub 2007 Oct 4.

Herlitz junctional epidermolysis bullosa: laminin-5 mutational profile and carrier frequency in the Italian population.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Cell Biology, Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata-IRCCS, via dei Monti di Creta 104, Rome, Italy.



Herlitz junctional epidermolysis bullosa (HJEB; MIM 226700) is a rare epithelial adhesion disorder caused by null mutations in any of the three genes encoding the alpha3, beta3 and gamma2 chains of laminin-5, and is mainly characterized by extensive mucocutaneous blistering, recurrent infections and early lethality.


To perform immunoepitope mapping, electron microscopy and molecular analysis of five Italian patients with HJEB in order to complete the clinical and molecular characterization of patients with HJEB collected in the Italian Registry of hereditary epidermolysis bullosa (IRHEB) and to calculate the HJEB carrier frequency in this population.


Skin biopsies from perilesional skin of all patients were employed for immunoepitope mapping and electron microscopy examination. Blood genomic DNA was used for mutation analysis in the LAMA3, LAMB3 and LAMC2 genes by heteroduplex scanning, preceded by a search for Italian recurrent mutations. Carrier frequency calculation was performed assuming Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium.


Two novel mutations in the LAMA3 (p.R782X) and LAMC2 (c.3235delA) genes, as well as three known and recurrent mutations in the LAMB3 (c.31insC and p.R81X) and LAMC2 (p.Y355X) genes were identified. Based on disease incidence reported in the IRHEB and the prevalence of mutations in each laminin-5 gene, the population carrier risk for HJEB was calculated to be one in 375.


Our delineation of a laminin-5 mutational spectrum in the general Italian population provides a solid basis for expedited diagnosis, accurate genetic counselling and DNA-based prenatal testing for Italian families at risk for recurrence of HJEB.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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