Mutations in GRHL2 result in an autosomal-recessive ectodermal dysplasia syndrome

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Grainyhead-like 2, encoded by GRHL2, is a member of a highly conserved family of transcription factors that play essential roles during epithelial development. Haploinsufficiency for GRHL2 has been implicated in autosomal-dominant deafness, but mutations have not yet been associated with any skin pathology. We investigated two unrelated Kuwaiti families in which a total of six individuals have had lifelong ectodermal defects. The clinical features comprised nail dystrophy or nail loss, marginal palmoplantar keratoderma, hypodontia, enamel hypoplasia, oral hyperpigmentation, and dysphagia. In addition, three individuals had sensorineural deafness, and three had bronchial asthma. Taken together, the features were consistent with an unusual autosomal-recessive ectodermal dysplasia syndrome. Because of consanguinity in both families, we used whole-exome sequencing to search for novel homozygous DNA variants and found GRHL2 mutations common to both families: affected subjects in one family were homozygous for c.1192TC (p.Tyr398His) in exon 9, and subjects in the other family were homozygous for c.1445TA (p.Ile482Lys) in exon 11. Immortalized keratinocytes (p.Ile482Lys) showed altered cell morphology, impaired tight junctions, adhesion defects, and cytoplasmic translocation of GRHL2. Whole-skin transcriptomic analysis (p.Ile482Lys) disclosed changes in genes implicated in networks of cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion. Our clinical findings of an autosomal-recessive ectodermal dysplasia syndrome provide insight into the role of GRHL2 in skin development, homeostasis, and human disease..




Petrof, G., Nanda, A., Howden, J., Takeichi, T., McMillan, J. R., Aristodemou, S., … McGrath, J. A. (2014). Mutations in GRHL2 result in an autosomal-recessive ectodermal dysplasia syndrome. American Journal of Human Genetics, 95(3), 308–314.

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