Spink5-deficient mice mimic Netherton syndrome through degradation of desmoglein 1 by epidermal protease hyperactivity

Nat Genet. 2005 Jan;37(1):56-65. doi: 10.1038/ng1493. Epub 2004 Dec 26.


Mutations in SPINK5, encoding the serine protease inhibitor LEKTI, cause Netherton syndrome, a severe autosomal recessive genodermatosis. Spink5(-/-) mice faithfully replicate key features of Netherton syndrome, including altered desquamation, impaired keratinization, hair malformation and a skin barrier defect. LEKTI deficiency causes abnormal desmosome cleavage in the upper granular layer through degradation of desmoglein 1 due to stratum corneum tryptic enzyme and stratum corneum chymotryptic enzyme-like hyperactivity. This leads to defective stratum corneum adhesion and resultant loss of skin barrier function. Profilaggrin processing is increased and implicates LEKTI in the cornification process. This work identifies LEKTI as a key regulator of epidermal protease activity and degradation of desmoglein 1 as the primary pathogenic event in Netherton syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Desmoglein 1
  • Epidermis / pathology
  • Epidermis / ultrastructure
  • Kallikreins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Serine Peptidase Inhibitor Kazal-Type 5
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors / genetics*
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Serpins / genetics*
  • Serpins / metabolism
  • Skin Diseases, Genetic / metabolism*
  • Skin Diseases, Genetic / pathology


  • Cadherins
  • Desmoglein 1
  • Serine Peptidase Inhibitor Kazal-Type 5
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors
  • Serpins
  • Spink5 protein, mouse
  • Kallikreins
  • Klk5 protein, mouse
  • Klk7 protein, mouse
  • Serine Endopeptidases

Associated data

  • OMIM/256500