Clinical features and molecular genetic analysis in a Turkish family with oral white sponge nevus

Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2018 Mar 1;23(2):e144-e150. doi: 10.4317/medoral.21437.


Background: Oral white sponge nevus (WSN) is a rare autosomal dominant benign condition, characterized by asymptomatic spongy white plaques. Mutations in Keratin 4 (KRT4) and 13 (KRT13) have been shown to cause WSN. Familial cases are uncommon due to irregular penetrance. Thus, the aim of the study was: a) to demonstrate the clinical and histopathological features of a three-generation Turkish family with oral WSN b) to determine whether KRT4 or KRT13 gene mutation was the molecular basis of WSN.

Material and methods: Out of twenty members of the family ten were available for assessment. Venous blood samples from six affected and five unaffected members and 48 healthy controls were obtained for genetic mutational analysis. Polymerase chain reaction was used to amplify all exons within KRT4 and KRT13 genes. These products were sequenced and the data was examined for mutations and polymorphisms.

Results: Varying presentation and severity of clinical features were observed. Analysis of the KRT13 gene revealed the sequence variant Y118D as the disease-causing mutation. One patient revealed several previously unreported polymorphisms including a novel mutation in exon 1 of the KRT13 gene and a heterozygous deletion in exon 1 of KRT4. This deletion in the KRT4 gene was found to be a common polymorphism reflecting a high allele frequency of 31.25% in the Turkish population.

Conclusions: Oral WSN may manifest variable clinical features. The novel mutation found in the KRT13 gene is believed to add evidence for a mutational hotspot in the mucosal keratins. Molecular genetic analysis is required to establish correct diagnosis and appropriate genetic consultation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • Humans
  • Keratin-13 / genetics*
  • Keratin-4 / genetics*
  • Leukokeratosis, Hereditary Mucosal / diagnosis*
  • Leukokeratosis, Hereditary Mucosal / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Pedigree
  • Turkey
  • Young Adult


  • KRT13 protein, human
  • Keratin-13
  • Keratin-4