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Mol Ther. 2014 Oct;22(10):1741-52. doi: 10.1038/mt.2014.140. Epub 2014 Jul 23.

Aminoglycosides restore full-length type VII collagen by overcoming premature termination codons: therapeutic implications for dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa.

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Department of Dermatology, The Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Division of Cancer Research, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK.


Patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) have severe, incurable skin fragility, blistering, and multiple skin wounds due to mutations in the gene encoding type VII collagen (C7), the major component of anchoring fibrils mediating epidermal-dermal adherence. Nearly 10-25% of RDEB patients carry nonsense mutations leading to premature stop codons (PTCs) that result in truncated C7. In this study, we evaluated the feasibility of using aminoglycosides to suppress PTCs and induce C7 expression in two RDEB keratinocyte cell lines (Q251X/Q251X and R578X/R906) and two primary RDEB fibroblasts (R578X/R578X and R163X/R1683X). Incubation of these cells with aminoglycosides (geneticin, gentamicin, and paromomycin) resulted in the synthesis and secretion of a full-length C7 in a dose-dependent and sustained manner. Importantly, aminoglycoside-induced C7 reversed the abnormal RDEB cell phenotype and incorporated into the dermal-epidermal junction of skin equivalents. We further demonstrated the general utility of aminoglycoside-mediated readthrough in 293 cells transiently transfected with expression vectors encoding 22 different RDEB nonsense mutations. This is the first study demonstrating that aminoglycosides can induce PTC readthrough and restore functional C7 in RDEB caused by nonsense mutations. Therefore, aminoglycosides may have therapeutic potential for RDEB patients and other inherited skin diseases caused by nonsense mutations.

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