V M Aita

Columbia University, New York City, NY, United States

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Publications (20)172.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Cell adhesion and communication are interdependent aspects of cell behavior that are critical for morphogenesis and tissue architecture. In the skin, epidermal adhesion is mediated in part by specialized cell-cell junctions known as desmosomes, which are characterized by the presence of desmosomal cadherins, known as desmogleins and desmocollins. We identified a cadherin family member, desmoglein 4, which is expressed in the suprabasal epidermis and hair follicle. The essential role of desmoglein 4 in skin was established by identifying mutations in families with inherited hypotrichosis, as well as in the lanceolate hair mouse. We also show that DSG4 is an autoantigen in pemphigus vulgaris. Characterization of the phenotype of naturally occurring mutant mice revealed disruption of desmosomal adhesion and perturbations in keratinocyte behavior. We provide evidence that desmoglein 4 is a key mediator of keratinocyte cell adhesion in the hair follicle, where it coordinates the transition from proliferation to differentiation.
    Cell 05/2003; 113(2):249-60. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell adhesion and communication are interdependent aspects of cell behavior that are critical for morphogenesis and tissue architecture. In the skin, epidermal adhesion is mediated in part by specialized cell-cell junctions known as desmosomes, which are characterized by the presence of desmosomal cadherins, known as desmogleins and desmocollins. We identified a cadherin family member, desmoglein 4, which is expressed in the suprabasal epidermis and hair follicle. The essential role of desmoglein 4 in skin was established by identifying mutations in families with inherited hypotrichosis, as well as in the lanceolate hair mouse. We also show that DSG4 is an autoantigen in pemphigus vulgaris. Characterization of the phenotype of naturally occurring mutant mice revealed disruption of desmosomal adhesion and perturbations in keratinocyte behavior. We provide evidence that desmoglein 4 is a key mediator of keratinocyte cell adhesion in the hair follicle, where it coordinates the transition from proliferation to differentiation.
    Cell. 01/2003; 113(2):249-260.
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    ABSTRACT: Congenital atrichia with papular lesions is a rare, autosomal recessive form of total alopecia and mutations in the hairless (hr) gene have been implicated in this disorder. Published estimates of the prevalence of this disorder remain surprisingly low considering pathogenetic mutations in hr have been found in distinct populations around the world. Therefore, it is likely that congenital atrichia with papular lesions is more common than previously thought and is often mistaken for the putative autoimmune form of alopecia universalis. To clarify this discrepancy, we propose criteria for the clinical diagnosis of congenital atrichia with papular lesions. Among these is the novel report of the consistent observation of hypopigmented whitish streaks on the scalp surface of affected individuals. Additionally, we report the identification of a novel missense mutation in hr from a family of Arab Palestinian origin that exhibits the pathognomonic features of atrichia with papular lesions. Collectively, we anticipate that an increased recognition of this disorder will result in more accurate diagnosis and the sparing of unnecessarily treatment to patients.
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 06/2002; 118(5):887-90. · 6.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Atrichia with papular lesions (APL) is a rare form of hair loss with an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance that is characterized by the absence of normal hair follicles, and formation of intradermal cystic structures. Mutations in the hairless (hr) gene in mice and humans have been implicated in the development of this phenotype. Hairless is a putative transcription factor containing a single zinc-finger DNA binding domain, with restricted expression in brain and skin. Here, we describe the complete hr cDNA sequence from the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) and report the identification of a compound heterozygous mutation in a hairless rhesus macaque born from unrelated parents. Cutaneous biopsy samples from the affected macaque revealed abnormalities, including the replacement of normal hair follicles with dermal cysts and comedones, reminiscent of the skin phenotype observed in hairless mice and humans with APL.
    Laboratory Animals 02/2002; 36(1):61-7. · 1.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Congenital atrichia with papular lesions is a rare, autosomal recessive form of total alopecia and mutations in the hairless (hir) gene have been implicated in this disorder. Published estimates of the prevalence of this disorder remain surprisingly low considering pathogenetic mutations in hir have been found in distinct ethnicities around the world. Therefore, it is likely that congenital atrichia with papular lesions is far more common than previously thought and is often mistaken for its phenocopy, the putative autoimmune form of alopecia universalis. To clarify this discrepancy, we propose criteria for the clinical diagnosis of congenital atrichia with papular lesions. Among these is the novel report of the consistent observation of hypopigmented whitish streaks on the scalp surface of affected individuals. Additionally, we report the identification of a novel missense mutation in hir from a family of Arab Palestinian origin that exhibits the pathognomonic features of atrichia with papular lesions. Collectively, we anticipate that an increased recognition of this disorder will result in more accurate diagnosis and the sparing of unnecessarily treatment to patients.
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 01/2002; 117(6):1662-5. · 6.19 Impact Factor
  • Vincent M. Aita, Angela M. Christiano
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    ABSTRACT: Alopecia areata (AA) is one of the most common forms of hair loss observed in humans. While the genetic basis for AA remains unknown, epidemiologic studies of heritability indicate the presence of a genetic component. AA can be modeled as a complex genetic disorder that results from the aggregate contribution of an unknown number of genes interacting with each other and the environment. In individuals who present with AA, it is expected that a varied combination of alleles of different genes confer a predisposition to disease development, which in turn is influenced by environmental and possibly autoimmunologic factors. This review summarizes the current body of knowledge involving the genetics of AA and gives a brief theoretical overview of genetic approaches that provides a framework for understanding future genetic mapping studies of AA.
    Dermatologic Therapy 11/2001; 14(4):329 - 339. · 1.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The human desmoglein genes, desmogleins 1--3, are members of the desmosomal cadherin superfamily, and encode critical components of the desmosome. These genes are tightly clustered within 150--200 kb of chromosome 18q12.1 and represent excellent candidate genes for genetic disorders of the epidermis linked to this region of the genome. Mutations in desmoglein 1 have already been implicated in the genetic disorder striate palmoplantar keratoderma. Similarly, a mutation in desmoglein 3 underlies the balding mouse phenotype, although no human mutations in desmoglein 3 have been identified to date. In this study, we have characterized the genomic organization of two of the three desmoglein genes mapped to chromosome 18q12. Comparison of their exon-intron structure reveals the high level of evolutionary conservation expected from these related genes. The identification of the genomic structure of the desmoglein genes will facilitate mutation detection in genodermatoses with desmosomal abnormalities resulting from underlying defects in these genes.
    Experimental Dermatology 05/2001; 10(2):90-4. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Desmocollins, members of the desmosomal cadherin family, are known to play an important role in desmosomal intercellular adhesion. The human desmosomal cadherin cluster is located on chromosome 18q12, and consists of three desmoglein and three desmocollin genes. The cDNAs of all six of these genes have been cloned and sequenced, however, the exon-intron organization was reported for only one human desmocollin gene, DSC2. We elucidated the exon-intron structures of the DSC1 and DSC3 genes using PCR amplification of genomic DNA and direct sequencing of BAC clones. The results suggest a strong evolutionary conservation between the genomic organization of the desmocollin genes.
    Experimental Dermatology 05/2001; 10(2):95-9. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hair follicle cycling is an exquisitely regulated and dynamic process consisting of phases of growth, regression and quiescence. The transitions between the phases are governed by a growing number of regulatory proteins, including transcription factors. The hairless (hr) gene encodes a putative transcription factor that is highly expressed in the skin, where it appears to be an essential regulator during the regression of the catagen hair follicle. In hairless mice, as well as humans with congenital atrichia, the absence of hr gene function initiates a premature and abnormal catagen due to a dysregulation of apoptosis and cell adhesion, and defects in the signaling required for hair follicle remodeling. Here, we report structure-function studies of the hairless gene product, in which we identify a novel bipartite nuclear localization signal (NLS) of the form KRA(X13) PKR. Deletion analysis of the mouse hr gene mapped the NLS to amino acid residues 409-427. Indirect immunofluorescence microscopy of cells transiently transfected with hairless-green fluorescent fusion proteins demonstrated that these amino acid residues are necessary and sufficient for nuclear localization. Furthermore, nuclear fractionation analysis revealed that the hr protein is associated with components of the nuclear matrix.
    Journal of Cell Science 02/2001; 114(Pt 2):367-76. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Variegate porphyria (VP; OMIM 176200) is characterized by a partial defect in the activity of protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO), the seventh enzyme of the porphyrin-heme biosynthetic pathway. The disease is usually inherited as an autosomal dominant trait displaying incomplete penetrance. In an effort to characterize the spectrum of molecular defects in VP, we identified 3 distinct mutations in 6 VP families from Chile by PCR, heteroduplex analysis, automated sequencing, restriction enzyme digestion and haplotyping analysis. The mutations consisted of 2 deletions and 1 missense mutation, designated 1239delTACAC, 1330delT and R168H. The occurrence of the missense mutation R168H had been reported previously in American, German and Dutch VP families, suggesting that this may represent a frequent recurrent mutation. Interestingly, the mutation 1239delTACAC was found in patients from 4 unrelated families living in different parts of Chile, suggesting that it might represent a common mutation in Chile. Haplotype analysis using 15 microsatellite markers which closely flank the PPO gene on chromosome 1q22, spanning approximately 21 cM, revealed the presence of R168H on different haplotypes in 6 VP patients from 3 unrelated families. In contrast, we found the occurrence of 1239delTACAC on the same chromosome 1 haplotype in 11 mutation carriers from 4 unrelated families with VP. These findings are consistent with R168H representing a hotspot mutation and 1239delTACAC existing as a founder mutation in the PPO gene. Our data comprise the first genetic studies of the porphyrias in South America and will streamline the elucidation of the genetic defects in VP patients from Chile by allowing an initial screening for the founder mutation 1239delTACAC.
    Human Heredity 02/2001; 51(3):160-8. · 1.57 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 11/2000; 115(4):761-4. · 6.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Congenital atrichia with papular lesions is a rare, recessively inherited form of hair loss characterized by a complete absence of all body hair shortly after birth. Mutations in the human ortholog of the mouse hairless (hr) gene have been implicated in the pathogenesis of this disorder. In this study, we screened, by direct sequence analysis, the hairless gene in a family of Polish descent and identified a novel missense mutation (C622G). The mutation alters the third of four invariant cysteins in the zinc-finger domain, which has high homology to the C-X-X-C-(X)17-C-X-X-C structure of the zinc-fingers of the GATA family of transcription factors. The human hairless gene encodes a putative transcription factor with restricted expression in the brain and skin, which is involved in the regulation of apoptosis during catagen remodeling in the hair cycle.
    Experimental Dermatology 05/2000; 9(2):157-62. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The past decade has witnessed the ascendance of human genetics in modern medicine, and at the forefront of this movement is the identification of genetic factors underlying inherited diseases. The methods of genetic mapping and positional cloning have made the discovery of genes with alleles that cause simple Mendelian diseases commonplace. The elucidation of the genetic basis of such disorders has vitalized both human genetics and the entire medical community as the field has gained prominence. The fact remains, however, that diseases resulting from the action of alleles of a single gene comprise only a minor percentage of traits that are medically relevant to humanity. The majority of these are multifactorial "complex traits", which result from the aggregate contribution of an unknown number of genes interacting with each other and with the environment. The current challenge has become one of parlaying successes in the mapping of Mendelian diseases into the discovery of genes whose alleles predispose the development of a complex disease. In light of this challenge, this review summarizes the methods and addresses some of the central issues of complex trait mapping, while using examples from dermatologically-relevant complex traits such as psoriasis and alopecia. Additionally, current technical and theoretical advances as well as the potential impact of the Human Genome Project will be discussed.
    Experimental Dermatology 01/2000; 8(6):439-52. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The beclin 1 (BECN1) gene encodes a 60-kDa coiled-coil protein that interacts with the prototypic apoptosis inhibitor Bcl-2. Previous studies indicate that beclin 1 maps to a region approximately 150 kb centromeric to BRCA1 on chromosome 17q21 that is commonly deleted in breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. The complete cDNA sequence of beclin 1 encodes a 2098-bp transcript, with a 120-bp 5' UTR, 1353-bp coding region, and 625-bp 3' UTR. Hybridization screening of a human genomic PAC library identified PAC 452O8, which contains the complete beclin 1 gene. Determination of the exon-intron structure of beclin 1 reveals 12 exons, ranging from 61 to 794 bp, which extend over 12 kb of the human genome. FISH analysis of human breast carcinoma cell lines using PAC 452O8 as probe identified allelic beclin 1 deletions in 9 of 22 cell lines. Sequencing of genomic DNA from 10 of these cell lines revealed no mutations in coding regions or splice junctions. Additionally, Northern blot analysis of 11 cell lines did not identify any abnormalities in beclin 1 transcripts. These results indicate that human breast carcinoma cell lines frequently contain allelic deletions of beclin 1, but not beclin 1 coding mutations.
    Genomics 08/1999; 59(1):59-65. · 3.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The recent discovery of the human counterpart of the hairless mouse phenotype has helped our understanding of the molecular genetics of hair growth. But there are no reports of a defect in the human homologue of the best known of the `bald' mouse phenotypes, the nude mouse. This may be because affected individuals are so gravely ill from the accompanying immunodeficiency that their baldness goes unnoticed. We have carried out a genetic analysis that reveals a human homologue of the nude mouse.
    Nature 05/1999; 398(6727):473-4. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previously, we demonstrated evidence of linkage to bipolar affective disorder (BP) in a single large, multigenerational family with a LOD score of 3.41 at the PFKL locus on chromosome 21q22.3. Additional families showed little support for linkage to PFKL under homogeneity or heterogeneity, in that study. We have expanded on that analysis, with 31 microsatellite markers at an average marker spacing of </=2 cM, in the largest multigenerational BP pedigree series reported to date. A two-point heterogeneity (alpha=0.5) LOD score of 3.35 (P<.000156) was found at the D21S1260 locus, 5 cM proximal to PFKL. Polylocus analysis with a cluster of three neighboring markers was consistent with these results (PL-HetLOD = 3.25). In the design of this study, 373 individuals from 40 families (from a total set of 1,508 individuals in 57 families) were chosen, as a cost-effective approach to genotyping this large sample set. Linkage analyses were performed with an "affecteds-only" method. As such, our results are based solely on genetic information from affected individuals, without assumptions about the disease-locus genotypes of the unaffecteds. Furthermore, for ease of comparison, this study was performed with the same approach as a 10-cM genome scan for BP loci, the results of which will be reported elsewhere.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 01/1999; 64(1):210-7. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Congenital erythropoietic porphyria (CEP) results from profoundly deficient activity of the fourth enzyme of the haeme biosynthetic pathway, uroporphyrinogen III synthase (UROIIIS). CEP is a rare, recessively inherited disorder, and mutations in the UROIIIS gene detected in CEP patients are heterogeneous. The notable exception to this rule is a single missense mutation, designated C73R, which represents over 40% of all mutant UROIIIS alleles. In this study, we investigated three separate families with CEP from different ethnic backgrounds. We performed haplotype analysis using two microsatellite markers that closely flank the UROIIIS gene on chromosome 10q24, spanning a region of 4 cM on the GB4 linkage panel. Haplotype analysis revealed the occurrence of C73R on different haplotypes in four out of four disease chromosomes studied. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that C73R is a hotspot mutation for CEP, and does not represent wide dispersion of a single ancestral mutant C73R allele.
    Annals of Human Genetics 06/1998; 62(Pt 3):225-30. · 2.22 Impact Factor
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    The American Journal of Human Genetics 04/1998; 62(4):987-91. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There are several forms of hereditary human hair loss, known collectively as alopecias, the molecular bases of which are entirely unknown. A kindred with a rare, recessively inherited type of alopecia universalis was used to search for a locus by homozygosity mapping, and linkage was established in a 6-centimorgan interval on chromosome 8p12 (the logarithm of the odds favoring linkage score was 6.19). The human homolog of a murine gene, hairless, was localized in this interval by radiation hybrid mapping, and a missense mutation was found in affected individuals. Human hairless encodes a putative single zinc finger transcription factor protein with restricted expression in the brain and skin.
    Science 02/1998; 279(5351):720-4. · 31.03 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Dermatological Science - J DERMATOLOGICAL SCI. 01/1998; 16.

Publication Stats

1k Citations
172.77 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1998–2003
    • Columbia University
      • • Department of Genetics and Development
      • • Department of Dermatology
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2002
    • Hadassah Medical Center
      Yerushalayim, Jerusalem District, Israel
  • 1999–2001
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York City, New York, United States