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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Partial revertant mosaicism of keratin 14 in a patient with recessive epidermolysis bullosa simplex.

A patient with recessive epidermolysis bullosa simplex due to a previously described homozygous KRT14 1842-2A-->C splice-site mutation was re-examined, because we unexpectedly found signs of revertant mosaicism. The germline mutation resulted in different aberrant transcripts containing premature termination codons, all leading to truncated keratin 14 proteins. Basal keratinocytes in skin and in culture completely lacked keratin 14 and intermediate filaments. From this keratin 14-/- patient we started cultures from a new skin biopsy and here, we serendipitously found keratinocytes that spontaneously expressed keratin 14. This biopsy had been taken from an area of skin that was clinically affected, because blisters could simply be evoked by gentle rubbing. Immunofluorescence and electron microscopy of additional biopsies from this skin area revealed a mosaic expression of keratin 14 and reappearance of intermediate filaments in basal keratinocytes. Immunoblotting showed a revertant keratin 14 polypeptide with seemingly normal molecular weight. DNA analysis of exon 2 and its flanking intron borders showed no additional mutations in the genomic KRT14 sequence. Analysis of mRNA isolated from mosaic skin keratinocytes revealed an additional in-frame transcript (1844T-->G, 1845Delta6) that codes for an abnormal keratin 14 polypeptide with a two residue deletion and one amino acid change. The re-expression of a revertant, albeit abnormal, keratin 14 polypeptide, so-called partial revertant mosaicism, accounts for the antibody staining pattern and for the reappearance of intermediate filaments, which however, are semifunctional and not able to revert the clinical phenotype. The combination of a keratin 14-positive and a keratin 14-negative cell population in epidermis as well as in cultured keratinocytes suggests that the cellular reversion might be caused by an endogenous factor. We hypothesize that a second somatic modulating factor in the genome that affects the processing of the mutant KRT14 pre-mRNA may underlie this phenomenon.[1]


  1. Partial revertant mosaicism of keratin 14 in a patient with recessive epidermolysis bullosa simplex. Schuilenga-Hut, P.H., Scheffer, H., Pas, H.H., Nijenhuis, M., Buys, C.H., Jonkman, M.F. J. Invest. Dermatol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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