Corneodesmosin (CD) is thought to play a key role in corneocyte cohesion, and its proteolysis appears to be a major event in the process of desquamation. Recently it was shown that CD is encoded by the S-gene, which is located approximately 160 kb telomeric of HLA-C. In the present study, the role of CD in the genetics of psoriasis vulgaris was studied in greater detail. The second exon of the CD gene was sequenced in 86 HLA-typed individuals from 13 psoriasis multiplex families. A total of 11 silent dimorphisms and 7 variants resulting in amino acid substitutions were found. Pedigree analysis showed that these variants could be grouped into 7 alleles, encoding 6 different amino acid sequences. These alleles are in strong linkage disequilibrium with HLA-B and -C, indicating that the polymorphism of the CD gene is ancient and well conserved rather than sporadic. One allele at the CD locus, designated CD2, displayed strong linkage disequilibrium with HLA-Cw6, the HLA allele most prominently associated with psoriasis. CD2 demonstrated a greater relative risk than Cw6 (3.4 vs. 2.5, not significant) and higher significant transmission disequilibrium with psoriasis than any of the investigated HLA-alleles. Due to its biologic function, cellular location and disease association, the CD gene appears to be an excellent candidate gene for PSORS1, the HLA-linked determinant of psoriasis vulgaris.