Topical Aminosalicylic Acid Improves Keratinocyte Differentiation in an Inducible Mouse Model of Harlequin Ichthyosis.
ABSTRACT: Mutations in the lipid transport protein ABCA12 cause the life-threatening skin condition harlequin ichthyosis (HI), which is characterized by the loss of skin barrier function, inflammation, and dehydration. Inflammatory responses in HI increase disease severity by impairing keratinocyte differentiation, suggesting amelioration of this phenotype as a possible therapy for the condition. Existing treatments for HI are based around the use of retinoids, but their value in treating patients during the neonatal period has been questioned relative to other improved management regimens, and their long-term use is associated with side effects. We have developed a conditional mouse model to demonstrate that topical application of the aminosalicylic acid derivatives 5ASA or 4ASA considerably improves HI keratinocyte differentiation without the undesirable side effects of the retinoid acitretin and salicylic acid (aspirin). Analysis of changes in gene expression shows that 4ASA in particular elicits compensatory upregulation of a large family of barrier function-related genes, many of which are associated with other ichthyoses, identifying this compound as a lead candidate for developing topical treatments for HI.
Project description:Harlequin ichthyosis (HI) is a devastating skin disorder with an unknown underlying cause. Abnormal keratinocyte lamellar granules (LGs) are a hallmark of HI skin. ABCA12 is a member of the ATP-binding cassette transporter family, and members of the ABCA subfamily are known to have closely related functions as lipid transporters. ABCA3 is involved in lipid secretion via LGs from alveolar type II cells, and missense mutations in ABCA12 have been reported to cause lamellar ichthyosis type 2, a milder form of ichthyosis. Therefore, we hypothesized that HI might be caused by mutations that lead to serious ABCA12 defects. We identify 5 distinct ABCA12 mutations, either in a compound heterozygous or homozygous state, in patients from 4 HI families. All the mutations resulted in truncation or deletion of highly conserved regions of ABCA12. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that ABCA12 localized to LGs in normal epidermal keratinocytes. We confirmed that ABCA12 defects cause congested lipid secretion in cultured HI keratinocytes and succeeded in obtaining the recovery of LG lipid secretion after corrective gene transfer of ABCA12. We concluded that ABCA12 works as an epidermal keratinocyte lipid transporter and that defective ABCA12 results in a loss of the skin lipid barrier, leading to HI. Our findings not only allow DNA-based early prenatal diagnosis but also suggest the possibility of gene therapy for HI.
Project description:One of the primary functions of skin is to form a defensive barrier against external infections and water loss. Disrupted barrier function underlies the most severe and often lethal form of recessive congenital ichthyosis, harlequin ichthyosis (HI). HI is associated with mutations in the gene that encodes the ABC transporter protein, ABCA12. We have investigated the morphological and biochemical alterations associated with abnormal epidermal differentiation and barrier formation in HI epidermis. An in vitro model of HI skin using human keratinocytes retrovirally transduced with shRNA targeting ABCA12 in a three-dimensional, organotypic co-culture (OTCC) system has also been developed. A robust reduction in ABCA12 expression had a dramatic effect on keratinocyte differentiation and morphology comparable with that observed in HI skin, including a thicker epidermis and abnormal lipid content with a reduction in nonpolar lipids. As seen in HI epidermis, proteins that are normally expressed in late differentiation were highly dysregulated in the ABCA12-ablated OTCC system. These proteins were expressed in the stratum basale and also in the stratum spinosum, indicative of a premature terminal differentiation phenotype. Expression of the proteases kallikrein 5 and cathepsin D was dramatically reduced in both HI epidermis and the OTCC model. These data suggest that ABCA12 is a key molecule in regulating keratinocyte differentiation and transporting specific proteases associated with desquamation.
Project description:Harlequin ichthyosis (HI) is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the keratinocyte lipid transporter ABCA12. The patients often die in the first 1 or 2 weeks of life, although HI survivors' phenotypes improve within several weeks after birth. In order to clarify the mechanisms of phenotypic recovery, we studied grafted skin and keratinocytes from Abca12-disrupted (Abca12(-/-)) mice showing abnormal lipid transport. Abca12(-/-) neonatal epidermis showed significantly reduced total ceramide amounts and aberrant ceramide composition. Immunofluorescence and immunoblotting of Abca12(-/-) neonatal epidermis revealed defective profilaggrin/filaggrin conversion and reduced protein expression of the differentiation-specific molecules, loricrin, kallikrein 5, and transglutaminase 1, although their mRNA expression was up-regulated. In contrast, Abca12(-/-) skin grafts kept in a dry environment exhibited dramatic improvements in all these abnormalities. Increased transepidermal water loss, a parameter representing barrier defect, was remarkably decreased in grafted Abca12(-/-) skin. Ten-passage sub-cultured Abca12(-/-) keratinocytes showed restoration of intact ceramide distribution, differentiation-specific protein expression and profilaggrin/filaggrin conversion, which were defective in primary-cultures. Using cDNA microarray analysis, lipid transporters including four ATP-binding cassette transporters were up-regulated after sub-culture of Abca12(-/-) keratinocytes compared with primary-culture. These results indicate that disrupted keratinocyte differentiation during the fetal development is involved in the pathomechanism of HI and, during maturation, Abca12(-/-) epidermal keratinocytes regain normal differentiation processes. This restoration may account for the skin phenotype improvement observed in HI survivors.
Project description:Harlequin ichthyosis (HI) is the most severe form of autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis, presenting at birth with distinctive facial features and thick, plate-like scales over the entire body. The abnormal skin barrier predisposes the patient to multiple complications, including dehydration and sepsis. Mortality rates of babies with HI have been greatly reduced since the introduction of systemic retinoid therapy. Mutations in ABCA12 have been found to lead to HI. Most of these mutations are truncation or deletion mutations in the conserved region of the protein, leading to severe loss of ABCA12 function. We report a case of HI caused by a compound heterozygous mutation (a known single nucleotide deletion and a novel single nucleotide substitution) in the ABCA12 gene.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Autosomal recessive congenital ichthyoses (ARCI) have been associated with different phenotypes including: harlequin ichthyosis (HI), congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma (CIE), and lamellar ichthyosis (LI). While pathogenic variants in all ARCI genes are associated with LI and CIE phenotypes, the unique gene associated with HI is ABCA12. In HI, the most severe ARCI form, pathogenic variants in both ABCA12 gene alleles usually have a severe impact on protein function. The presence of at least one non-truncating variant frequently causes a less severe congenital ichthyosis phenotype (LI and CIE). METHODS:We report the case of a 4-year-old Ecuadorian boy with a severe skin disease. Genetic diagnosis was performed by NGS. In silico predictions were performed using Alamut software v2.11. A review of the literature was carried out to identify all patients carrying ABCA12 splice-site and missense variants, and to explore their genotype-phenotype correlations. RESULTS:Genetic testing revealed a nonsense substitution, p.(Arg2204*), and a new missense variant, p.(Val1927Leu), in the ABCA12 gene. After performing in silico analysis and a comprehensive review of the literature, we conclude that p.(Val1927Leu) affects a well conserved residue which could either disturb the protein function or alter the splicing process, both alternatives could explain the severe phenotype of our patient. CONCLUSION:This case expands the spectrum of ABCA12 reported disease-causing variants which is important to unravel genotype-phenotype correlations and highlights the importance of missense variants in the development of HI.
Project description:Harlequin ichthyosis (HI) is the most severe and frequently lethal form of recessive congenital ichthyosis. Although defects in lipid transport, protein phosphatase activity, and differentiation have been described, the genetic basis underlying the clinical and cellular phenotypes of HI has yet to be determined. By use of single-nucleotide-polymorphism chip technology and homozygosity mapping, a common region of homozygosity was observed in five patients with HI in the chromosomal region 2q35. Sequencing of the ABCA12 gene, which maps within the minimal region defined by homozygosity mapping, revealed disease-associated mutations, including large intragenic deletions and frameshift deletions in 11 of the 12 screened individuals with HI. Since HI epidermis displays abnormal lamellar granule formation, ABCA12 may play a critical role in the formation of lamellar granules and the discharge of lipids into the intercellular spaces, which would explain the epidermal barrier defect seen in this disorder. This finding paves the way for early prenatal diagnosis. In addition, functional studies of ABCA12 will lead to a better understanding of epidermal differentiation and barrier formation.
Project description:The biology of harlequin ichthyosis (HI), a devastating skin disorder caused by loss-of-function mutations in the gene ABCA12, is poorly understood, and to date, no satisfactory treatment has been developed. We sought to investigate pathomechanisms of HI that could lead to the identification of new treatments for improving patients' quality of life. In this study, RNA-Seq and functional assays were performed to define the effects of loss of ABCA12 using HI patient skin samples and an engineered CRISPR/Cas9 ABCA12 KO cell line. The HI living skin equivalent (3D model) recapitulated the HI skin phenotype. The cytokines IL-36? and IL-36? were upregulated in HI skin, whereas the innate immune inhibitor IL-37 was strongly downregulated. We also identified STAT1 and its downstream target inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) as being upregulated in the in vitro HI 3D model and HI patient skin samples. Inhibition of NOS2 using the inhibitor 1400W or the JAK inhibitor tofacitinib dramatically improved the in vitro HI phenotype by restoring the lipid barrier in the HI 3D model. Our study has identified dysregulated pathways in HI skin that are feasible therapeutic targets.
Project description:Research into the molecular genetics and pathomechanisms of ichthyoses have advanced considerably, resulting in the identification of several causative genes and molecules underlying the disease. In 2009, the First Ichthyosis Consensus Conference was held to establish a consensus for the nomenclature and classification of inherited ichthyoses, by which an international consensus for the classification of inherited ichthyosis was achieved. In this review, the pathogeneses of various ichthyoses are summarized based on their revised classification and terminology. Skin barrier defects are involved in the pathogenesis of various types of ichthyosis. The known causative molecules underlying ichthyosis include ABCA12, lipoxygenase-3, 12R-lipoxygenase, CYP4F22, ichthyin and steroid sulfatase, all of which are thought to be related to the intercellular lipid layers. ABCA12 is a known keratinocyte lipid transporter associated with lipid transport in lamellar granules and a loss of ABCA12 function leads to defective lipid transport in the keratinocytes, resulting in the most severe, harlequin ichthyosis phenotype. Other causative molecules for ichthyoses are transglutaminase 1, keratins and filaggrin. Transglutaminase 1 plays a role in cornified cell envelope formation. Keratins 1, 10 and 2 are involved in the keratin network of suprabasal keratinocytes and filaggrin is essential for the formation of keratohyalin granules. It is important to obtain information concerning genetic defects and to elucidate ichthyotic disease pathomechanisms for the establishment of an effective therapy and beneficial genetic counseling, including a prenatal diagnosis for families affected by ichthyotic disease.
Project description:Harlequin Ichthyosis is a severe skin disease caused by mutations in the human gene encoding ABCA12. Here, we characterize a novel mutation in intron 29 of the mouse Abca12 gene that leads to the loss of a 5' splice donor site and truncation of the Abca12 RNA transcript. Homozygous mutants of this smooth skin or smsk allele die perinatally with shiny translucent skin, typical of animal models of Harlequin Ichthyosis. Characterization of smsk mutant skin showed that the delivery of glucosylceramides and CORNEODESMOSIN was defective, while ultrastructural analysis revealed abnormal lamellar bodies and the absence of lipid lamellae in smsk epidermis. Unexpectedly, mutant stratum corneum remained intact when subjected to harsh chemical dissociation procedures. Moreover, both KALLIKREIN 5 and -7 were drastically decreased, with retention of desmoplakin in mutant SC. In cultured wild type keratinocytes, both KALLIKREIN 5 and -7 colocalized with ceramide metabolites following calcium-induced differentiation. Reducing the intracellular levels of glucosylceramide with a glucosylceramide synthase inhibitor resulted in decreased secretion of KALLIKREIN proteases by wild type keratinocytes, but not by smsk mutant keratinocytes. Together, these findings suggest an essential role for ABCA12 in transferring not only lipids, which are required for the formation of multilamellar structures in the stratum corneum, but also proteolytic enzymes that are required for normal desquamation. Smsk mutant mice recapitulate many of the pathological features of HI and can be used to explore novel topical therapies against a potentially lethal and debilitating neonatal disease.
Project description:Harlequin Ichthyosis (HI) is a severe and often lethal hyperkeratotic skin disease caused by mutations in the ABCA12 transport protein. In keratinocytes, ABCA12 is thought to regulate the transfer of lipids into small intracellular trafficking vesicles known as lamellar bodies. However, the nature and scope of this regulation remains unclear. As part of an original recessive mouse ENU mutagenesis screen, we have identified and characterised an animal model of HI and showed that it displays many of the hallmarks of the disease including hyperkeratosis, loss of barrier function, and defects in lipid homeostasis. We have used this model to follow disease progression in utero and present evidence that loss of Abca12 function leads to premature differentiation of basal keratinocytes. A comprehensive analysis of lipid levels in mutant epidermis demonstrated profound defects in lipid homeostasis, illustrating for the first time the extent to which Abca12 plays a pivotal role in maintaining lipid balance in the skin. To further investigate the scope of Abca12's activity, we have utilised cells from the mutant mouse to ascribe direct transport functions to the protein and, in doing so, we demonstrate activities independent of its role in lamellar body function. These cells have severely impaired lipid efflux leading to intracellular accumulation of neutral lipids. Furthermore, we identify Abca12 as a mediator of Abca1-regulated cellular cholesterol efflux, a finding that may have significant implications for other diseases of lipid metabolism and homeostasis, including atherosclerosis.