European Journal of Dermatology


Corneodesmosomes and corneodesmosin: from the s tratum corneum cohesion to the pathophysiology of genodermatoses Volume 21, supplement 2, May 2011

UMR 5165 CNRS - Université de Toulouse, Hôpital Purpan, Place du Dr Baylac, TSA 40031, 31059 Toulouse Cedex 9, France

Corneodesmosin (CDSN) was identified 20 years ago by raising monoclonal antibodies against human plantar stratum corneum. The protein is specific to corneodesmosomes, cell-junction structures that, in humans, are found in the epidermis, the hard palate epithelium, and the inner root sheath of the hair follicles. Synthesized by the granular keratinocytes and secreted via the lamellar bodies, CDSN is incorporated into the desmoglea of the desmosomes, shortly before their transformation into corneodesmosomes during cornification. CDSN displays adhesive properties, mostly attributable to its N-terminal glycine-rich domain, and is sequentially proteolyzed as corneocytes migrate towards the skin surface prior to desquamation. The recent inactivation of Cdsn in mice induced a lethal epidermal barrier disruption and hair follicle degeneration, related to corneodesmosome dysfunction. That confirmed the essential role of the protein in maintaining integrity of the epidermis and the hair follicle. The CDSN gene is located in PSORS1, the major psoriasis susceptibility locus on the chromosome 6, but to date its involvement in the disease pathophysiology is not clear. By contrast, two different monogenic diseases associated with nonsense mutations in CDSN, were recently identified. First, hypotrichosis simplex of the scalp in which mutated CDSN accumulates in the dermis and forms amyloid deposits; then, peeling skin disease in which the genetic defect induces dyscohesion of the stratum corneum, responsible for abnormal desquamation and increased skin penetration of allergens.