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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013 Nov;132(5):1111-1120.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2013.08.027. Epub 2013 Sep 20.

A homozygous nonsense mutation in the gene for Tmem79, a component for the lamellar granule secretory system, produces spontaneous eczema in an experimental model of atopic dermatitis.

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Department of Dermatology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan; Center for Integrated Medical Research, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



Flaky tail (ma/ma Flg(ft/ft)) mice have a frameshift mutation in the filaggrin (Flg(ft)) gene and are widely used as a model of human atopic dermatitis associated with FLG mutations. These mice possess another recessive hair mutation, matted (ma), and develop spontaneous dermatitis under specific pathogen-free conditions, whereas genetically engineered Flg(-/-) mice do not.


We identified and characterized the gene responsible for the matted hair and dermatitis phenotype in flaky tail mice.


We narrowed down the responsible region by backcrossing ma/ma mice with wild-type mice and identified the mutation using next-generation DNA sequencing. We attempted to rescue the matted phenotype by introducing the wild-type matted transgene. We characterized the responsible gene product by using whole-mount immunostaining of epidermal sheets.


We demonstrated that ma, but not Flg(ft), was responsible for the dermatitis phenotype and corresponded to a Tmem79 gene nonsense mutation (c.840C>G, p.Y280*), which encoded a 5-transmembrane protein. Exogenous Tmem79 expression rescued the matted hair and dermatitis phenotype of Tmem79(ma/ma) mice. Tmem79 was mainly expressed in the trans-Golgi network in stratum granulosum cells in the epidermis in both mice and humans. The Tmem79(ma/ma) mutation impaired the lamellar granule secretory system, which resulted in altered stratum corneum formation and a subsequent spontaneous dermatitis phenotype.


The Tmem79(ma/ma) mutation is responsible for the spontaneous dermatitis phenotype in matted mice, probably as a result of impaired lamellar granule secretory system and altered stratum corneum barrier function.


AD; Atopic dermatitis; CDSN; Corneodesmosin; Filaggrin; Flg; LG; Lamellar granule; Matted; SC; SG; SNV; SPF; Single nucleotide variation; Specific pathogen free; Stratum corneum; Stratum granulosum; TEWL; TGN; Trans-Golgi network; Transepidermal water loss; WT; Wild type; filaggrin; ma; skin barrier; stratum corneum; trans-Golgi network

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