Keratin 4 regulates the development of human white sponge nevus

J Oral Pathol Med. 2018 Jul;47(6):598-605. doi: 10.1111/jop.12728. Epub 2018 May 27.


Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the roles of keratin 4 (KRT4) gene in the development of human white sponge nevus (WSN).

Methods: Transgenic mice were created using the microinjection method with pcDNA3.1 vectors expressing KRT4 wild-type (WT) gene and E520K mutation. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Western blotting were used to identify the genotype of transgenic founders and their filial generations. Expression of KRT4 in mouse oral mucosa was characterized by immunohistochemistry (IHC), and the whole epithelium layer of transgenic mice was observed using transmission electron microscope (TEM).

Results: The positive rate of KRT4 transgenic mice in F1 generation was 45.5%. Expression level of KRT4 protein was significantly higher in 2-month-old transgenic mice than WT mice. Furthermore, all the epithelial lamina of 3-month-old transgenic mice showed reduced staining of KRT4. The surface and spinous layers were full of hyalocytes and bubble cells, which are similar to the clinical symptoms of WSN. For the ultrastructure, both tonofilaments and Odland bodies increased.

Conclusions: Our study indicated the mutated KRT4 gene may play important roles in the pathogenesis of WSN.

Keywords: KRT13; KRT4; transgenic mouse model; white sponge nevus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Keratin-4 / genetics
  • Keratin-4 / metabolism*
  • Leukokeratosis, Hereditary Mucosal / genetics
  • Leukokeratosis, Hereditary Mucosal / metabolism*
  • Leukokeratosis, Hereditary Mucosal / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mouth Diseases / genetics
  • Mouth Diseases / metabolism*
  • Mouth Diseases / pathology
  • Mouth Mucosa / metabolism
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology
  • Mutation


  • Keratin-4