Corrective gene transfer of keratinocytes from patients with junctional epidermolysis bullosa restores assembly of hemidesmosomes in reconstructed epithelia

J. Vailly, L. Gagnoux-Palacios, E. Dell'Ambra, C. Roméro, M. Pinola, G. Zambruno, M. De Luca, J. P. Ortonne, G. Meneguzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Herlitz junctional epidermolysis bullosa (H-JEB) provides a promising model for somatic gene therapy of heritable mechano-bullous disorders. This genodermatosis is caused by the lack of laminin-5 that results in absence of hemidesmosomes (HD) and defective adhesion of squamous epithelia. To establish whether re-expression of laminin-5 can restore assembly of the dermal-epidermal attachment structures lacking in the H-JEB skin, we corrected the genetic mutation hindering expression of the β3 chain of laminin-5 in human H-JEB keratinocytes by transfer of a laminin β3 transgene. The transduced keratinocytes synthesized a recombinant β3 polypeptide that assembled with the endogenous laminin α3 and γ2 chains into a biologically active laminin-5 that was secreted, processed and deposited into the extracellular matrix. Re-expression of laminin-5 induced cell spreading, nucleation of hemidesmosomal-like structures and enhanced adhesion to the culture substrate. Organotypic cultures performed with the transduced keratinocytes, reconstituted epidermis closely adhering to the mesenchyme and presenting mature hemidesmosomes, bridging the cytoplasmic intermediate filaments of the basal cells to the anchoring filaments of the basement membrane. Our results provide the first evidence of phenotypic reversion of JEB keratinocytes by somatic gene therapy and demonstrate that genetic treatment of the mild forms of skin blistering diseases and other inherited extracellular matrix pathologies is a realistic goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1322-1332
Number of pages11
JournalGene Therapy
Volume5
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Keywords

  • Artificial epidermis
  • Basement membrane
  • Cell adhesion
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Laminin-5

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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