Purpose: We aimed to assess the biological and clinical significance of the human cysteine protease inhibitor cystatin M/E, encoded by the CTS6 gene, in diseases of human hair and skin.
Methods: Exome and Sanger sequencing was performed to reveal the genetic cause in two related patients with hypotrichosis. Immunohistochemical, biophysical, and biochemical measurements were performed on patient skin and 3D-reconstructed skin from patient-derived keratinocytes.
Results: We identified a homozygous variant c.361C>T (p.Gln121*), resulting in a premature stop codon in exon 2 of CST6 associated with hypotrichosis, eczema, blepharitis, photophobia and impaired sweating. Enzyme assays using recombinant mutant cystatin M/E protein, generated by site-directed mutagenesis, revealed that this p.Gln121*) variant was unable to inhibit any of its three target proteases (legumain and cathepsins L and V). Three-dimensional protein structure prediction confirmed the disturbance of the protease/inhibitor binding sites of legumain and cathepsins L and V in the p.Gln121* variant.
Conclusion: The herein characterized autosomal recessive hypotrichosis syndrome indicates an important role of human cystatin M/E in epidermal homeostasis and hair follicle morphogenesis.
- hair follicle
- 3D-reconstructed epidermis
- skin barrier
- OF-FUNCTION MUTATIONS
- HAIR FOLLICLE
- EXFOLIATIVE ICHTHYOSIS