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Keywords:

  • intermediate filament proteins;
  • keratin 6c;
  • KRT6C ;
  • pachyonychia congenita;
  • palmoplantar keratoderma

Abstract

Focal palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK) with severe pain is a hallmark of pachyonychia congenita, a rare autosomal dominant disorder involving PPK and hypertrophic nail dystrophy. Some families present focal PPK with either minimal or no nail changes. Dominant-negative mutations in any of the four identified keratin genes, KRT6A, KRT6B, KRT16 or KRT17, lead to pachyonychia congenita. However, the majority of families with focal PPK showing minimal or no nail changes do not harbor mutations in these genes. Recently, mutations of KRT6C were identified in families with focal PPK alone. Here, we report a 26-year-old Japanese man with focal plantar hyperkeratosis that developed at approximately 10 years of age with no palmar involvement and no nail alterations. We identified a missense KRT6C mutation c.1414G>A resulting in an p.Glu472Lys substitution, as reported in other Japanese patients. When the mutant keratin 6c protein is exogenously expressed in human HaCaT cells, a collapse of the keratin filament network is observed in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting the mutation has a dominant-negative effect on keratin filament network formation. The mutated residue is located at the helix termination motif of keratin 6c. The peptide sequence around this residue is highly conserved among type II, III and IV intermediate filament proteins. Glu to Lys mutations of the equivalent residue have been reported in a variety of inherited diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, corneal dystrophy and skin disorders, suggesting that this residue is vital to keratin function.