Keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans (KFSD) or Siemens-1 syndrome is a rare X-linked disease of unknown etiology affecting the skin and the eye. Although most affected families are compatible with X-linked inheritance, KFSD appears to be clinically and genetically heterogeneous. So far, the gene has been mapped to Xp22.13p22.2 in two extended KFSD families. Analysis of additional recombination events in the first Dutch pedigree located the gene to an interval covering approximately 1 Mb between markers DXS7163 and DXS7593/ DXS7105, whereas haplotype reconstruction in the second German family positioned the gene outside the previously identified region, proximal to marker DXS274. We report here the molecular characterization of an Xp21.1p22.12 duplication present in a patient affected with dosage-sensitive sex reversal (DSS) and KFSD. The duplicated region includes both the DAX1 gene (previously demonstrated to be responsible for DSS) and the KFSD interval, in which the gene encoding spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) is located. This enzyme catalyzes the N1-acetylation of spermidine and spermine and, by the successive activity of polyamine oxidase, the spermine can be converted to spermidine and the spermidine to putrescine. Overexpression of the SSAT enzyme in a mouse model results in putrescine accumulation and a phenotype with skin and hair abnormalities reminiscent of human KFSD. Analysis of polyamine metabolism in the cells of the patient indicated that the levels of metabolites such as putrescine, spermidine and spermine were consistent with the overexpression of the SSAT gene as in the murine model. Thus, we propose that overexpression of SSAT and the consequent putrescine accumulation are involved in the KFSD phenotype, at least in our propositus.
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