Mutation of keratin 4 gene causing white sponge nevus in a Japanese family

Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2013 May;42(5):615-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2012.10.030. Epub 2012 Nov 24.


White sponge nevus (WSN) is a rare autosomal dominant disorder characterized by white plaques of oral mucosa; it is benign condition with no effective treatment. The disorder usually manifests during early childhood or adolescence. Mutations of keratin 4 or 13 gene have been identified as causing WSN. The aim of this study is to determine whether keratin 4 or 13 gene mutation was the molecular basis of WSN in a Japanese family. The proband in this family was an 11-year-old boy, with three other people affected by WSN. Genomic DNA was extracted from two affected members and an unaffected member. Segments of keratin 4 and 13 genes were amplified by PCR, and direct DNA sequencing was carried out. Sequence analysis revealed a heterozygous 3bp deletion (N160Del) localized in the helix-initiation motif at the beginning of alpha-helical domain 1A of keratin 4 gene from affected members. One member lacking the phenotype was genetically tested normal. The authors identified a mutation of the keratin 4 gene recurrent in a family affected by WSN. Further investigation of the multifunctional role of keratin genes is warranted in the group of inherited epithelial disorders that may result in identification of effective treatment for this genetic disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / genetics
  • Asparagine / genetics
  • Base Pairing / genetics
  • Child
  • Exons / genetics
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Keratin-13 / genetics
  • Keratin-4 / genetics*
  • Leukokeratosis, Hereditary Mucosal / genetics*
  • Leukokeratosis, Hereditary Mucosal / pathology
  • Male
  • Mouth Diseases / genetics*
  • Mouth Diseases / pathology
  • Pedigree
  • Protein Structure, Secondary / genetics
  • Sequence Deletion / genetics*


  • Keratin-13
  • Keratin-4
  • Asparagine