Elevated stratum corneum hydrolytic activity in Netherton syndrome suggests an inhibitory regulation of desquamation by SPINK5-derived peptides.

Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology (Impact Factor: 6.19). 04/2002; 118(3):436-43. DOI: 10.1046/j.0022-202x.2001.01663.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Netherton syndrome is a congenital ichthyosis associated with erythroderma, hair shaft defects, and atopic features. The mutations of the secretory serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type 5 gene have been identified in Netherton syndrome patients; however, the actual physiologic substrates of the serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type 5 proprotein are unknown, and how the genetic defects cause characteristic skin phenotype remains uncertain. Here, we describe the serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type 5 gene mutations, including two novel non-sense mutations, and genotype-phenotype correlation in three Netherton syndrome patients in two unrelated Japanese families. Furthermore, based on the reappraisal of the structure of the serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type 5 proprotein, demonstration of the presence of carboxypeptidase in normal keratinocytes, and the observation of mRNA localization of the serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type 5 transcripts in the uppermost epidermis as well as pilosebaceous units, we propose a hypothetical model of proteolytic processing of the serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type 5 proprotein in the epidermis and inhibitory regulation of corneocyte desquamation by a set of serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type 5-derived peptides. This hypothesis is supported by the marked increase of trypsin-like hydrolytic activity demonstrated in stratum corneum samples from our Netherton syndrome patients. The findings in this study suggest that the defective inhibitory regulation of desquamation due to the serine protease inhibitor Kazal-type 5 gene mutations may cause over-desquamation of corneocytes in Netherton syndrome, leading to severe skin permeability barrier dysfunction.

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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Netherton syndrome (NS) is a serious inherited skin disorder caused by mutations in the serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 5 gene (SPINK5), which encodes for a serine protease inhibitor lymphoepithelial Kazal type-related inhibitor (LEKTI). Patients with NS have defective keratinization, hair shaft defects, recurrent infections, atopy, and a predisposition to skin malignancies. Historically, 1 in 10 infants has died before their first birthday. Currently, there are no proven treatments to cure this condition. A SIN-lentiviral vector encoding the codon-optimized SPINK5 gene under the control of a 572 bp element derived from the human involucrin promoter can confer compartment-specific LEKTI expression in NS keratinocytes with restoration of normal skin architecture. Here we detail a study protocol for a phase I trial for feasibility and safety evaluations of autologous epidermal sheets generated from ex vivo gene-corrected keratinocyte stem cells, which will be grafted onto patients with mutation-proven NS.
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    ABSTRACT: Netherton syndrome (NS, MIM 256500) is a potential live threatening autosomal-recessive skin disorder clinically characterized by the trias of congenital erythroderma, hair shaft anomalies and atopic diathesis. It is caused by mutations in the gene SPINK5 resulting in a deficiency of its processed protein named lympho-epithelial Kazal-type related inhibitor (LEKTI). LEKTI controls the activity of several serine proteases in the skin that are involved in terminal differentiation. Loss of LEKTI results in protease hyperactivity, increased degradation of intercellular junctions, reduced stratum corneum adhesion and impaired skin barrier function. Today NS can only be treated symptomatically. Does gene transfer offer a therapeutic option for NS in the future? A recombinant adeno-associated virus type 2 vector was constructed containing the full length cDNA (rAAV2/C-SPINK5) of functional human LEKTI. Infectious virus particles were used for transfection of LEKTI-deficient-keratinocytes of NS patients in vitro. Gene transfer of SPINK5 in NS-keratinocytes led to a five-fold increase in mRNA expression of SPINK5 reaching almost 75% of normal value. The functionality of the expressed LEKTI was proven in a hydrolytic activity assay demonstrating that the activity of LEKTI after gene transfer increased closely to the level seen in keratinocytes of healthy individuals. The results provide first evidence that gene transfer of SPINK5 results in increased LEKTI activity in NS-keratinocytes, thus offering a rational to further pursue such a gene therapy approach for NS.
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