Antimicrobial Late Cornified Envelope Proteins: The Psoriasis Risk Factor Deletion of LCE3B/C Genes Affects Microbiota Composition

J Invest Dermatol. 2022 Jul;142(7):1947-1955.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2021.11.036. Epub 2021 Dec 21.


Late cornified envelope proteins are predominantly expressed in the skin and other cornified epithelia. On the basis of sequence similarity, this 18-member homologous gene family has been subdivided into six groups. The LCE3 proteins have been the focus of dermatological research because the combined deletion of LCE3B and LCE3C genes (LCE3B/C-del) is a risk factor for psoriasis. We previously reported that LCE3B/C-del increases the expression of the LCE3A gene and that LCE3 proteins exert antibacterial activity. In this study, we analyzed the antimicrobial properties of other family members and the role of LCE3B/C-del in the modulation of microbiota composition of the skin and oral cavity. Differences in killing efficiency and specificity between the late cornified envelope proteins and their target microbes were found, and the amino acid content rather than the order of the well-conserved central domain of the LCE3A protein was found responsible for its antibacterial activity. In vivo, LCE3B/C-del correlated with a higher beta-diversity in the skin and oral microbiota. From these results, we conclude that all late cornified envelope proteins possess antimicrobial activity. Tissue-specific and genotype-dependent antimicrobial protein profiles impact skin and oral microbiota composition, which could direct toward LCE3B/C-del‒associated dysbiosis and a possible role for microbiota in the pathophysiology of psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cornified Envelope Proline-Rich Proteins* / genetics
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Psoriasis* / genetics
  • Risk Factors


  • Cornified Envelope Proline-Rich Proteins
  • LCE3A protein, human
  • LCE3B protein, human
  • LCE3C protein, human