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PLoS Genet. 2018 Mar 22;14(3):e1007264. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007264. eCollection 2018 Mar.

MKLN1 splicing defect in dogs with lethal acrodermatitis.

Author information

Institute of Genetics, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
DermFocus, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Department of Pathobiology, Institute of Pathology and Forensic Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, The University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Neston, Cheshire, United Kingdom.
Antagene, Animal Genetics Laboratory, La Tour de Salvagny, France.
Institut de Génétique et Développement de Rennes (IGDR), CNRS-UMR6290, Université Rennes1, Rennes, France.
Department of Veterinary Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Research Programs Unit, Molecular Neurology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Institute of Animal Pathology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Division of Clinical Dermatology, Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern,Bern, Switzerland.
Kennel Club Genetics Centre, Animal Health Trust, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, United Kingdom.
Section of Medical Genetics, Department of Clinical Sciences & Advanced Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.


Lethal acrodermatitis (LAD) is a genodermatosis with monogenic autosomal recessive inheritance in Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers. The LAD phenotype is characterized by poor growth, immune deficiency, and skin lesions, especially at the paws. Utilizing a combination of genome wide association study and haplotype analysis, we mapped the LAD locus to a critical interval of ~1.11 Mb on chromosome 14. Whole genome sequencing of an LAD affected dog revealed a splice region variant in the MKLN1 gene that was not present in 191 control genomes (chr14:5,731,405T>G or MKLN1:c.400+3A>C). This variant showed perfect association in a larger combined Bull Terrier/Miniature Bull Terrier cohort of 46 cases and 294 controls. The variant was absent from 462 genetically diverse control dogs of 62 other dog breeds. RT-PCR analysis of skin RNA from an affected and a control dog demonstrated skipping of exon 4 in the MKLN1 transcripts of the LAD affected dog, which leads to a shift in the MKLN1 reading frame. MKLN1 encodes the widely expressed intracellular protein muskelin 1, for which diverse functions in cell adhesion, morphology, spreading, and intracellular transport processes are discussed. While the pathogenesis of LAD remains unclear, our data facilitate genetic testing of Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers to prevent the unintentional production of LAD affected dogs. This study may provide a starting point to further clarify the elusive physiological role of muskelin 1 in vivo.

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