Ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting (EEC) syndrome is a rare autosomal dominant disease caused by mutations in the p63 gene. To date, approximately 40 different p63 mutations have been identified, all heterozygous. No definitive treatments are available to counteract and resolve the progressive corneal degeneration due to a premature aging of limbal epithelial stem cells. Here, we describe a unique case of a young female patient, aged 18 years, with EEC and corneal dysfunction, who was, surprisingly, homozygous for a novel and de novo R311K missense mutation in the p63 gene. A detailed analysis of the degree of somatic mosaicism in leukocytes from peripheral blood and oral mucosal epithelial stem cells (OMESCs) from biopsies of buccal mucosa showed that approximately 80% were homozygous mutant cells and 20% were heterozygous. Cytogenetic and molecular analyses excluded genomic alterations, thus suggesting a de novo mutation followed by an allelic gene conversion of the wild-type allele by de novo mutant allele as a possible mechanism to explain the homozygous condition. R311K-p63 OMESCs were expanded in vitro and heterozygous holoclones selected following clonal analysis. These R311K-p63 OMESCs were able to generate well-organized and stratified epithelia in vitro, resembling the features of healthy tissues. This study supports the rationale for the development of cultured autologous oral mucosal epithelial stem cell sheets obtained by selected heterozygous R311K-p63 stem cells, as an effective and personalized therapy for reconstructing the ocular surface of this unique case of EEC syndrome, thus bypassing gene therapy approaches. SIGNIFICANCE: This case demonstrates that in a somatic mosaicism context, a novel homozygous mutation in the p63 gene can arise as a consequence of an allelic gene conversion event, subsequent to a de novo mutation. The heterozygous mutant R311K-p63 stem cells can be isolated by means of clonal analysis and given their good regenerative capacity, they may be used to successfully correct the corneal defects present in this unique case of ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting syndrome.

Personalized stem cell therapy to correct corneal defects due to a unique homozygous-heterozygous mosaicism of ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting syndrome

NASTI, ANNAMARIA ASSUNTA;RAFFA, PAOLO;MIGLIORATI, ANGELO;NESPECA, PATRIZIA;PALUMBO, ELISA;RUSSO, ANTONELLA;CAENAZZO, LUCIANA;PALU', GIORGIO;PAROLIN, MARIA CRISTINA;DI IORIO, MARIO VINCENZO
2016

Abstract

Ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting (EEC) syndrome is a rare autosomal dominant disease caused by mutations in the p63 gene. To date, approximately 40 different p63 mutations have been identified, all heterozygous. No definitive treatments are available to counteract and resolve the progressive corneal degeneration due to a premature aging of limbal epithelial stem cells. Here, we describe a unique case of a young female patient, aged 18 years, with EEC and corneal dysfunction, who was, surprisingly, homozygous for a novel and de novo R311K missense mutation in the p63 gene. A detailed analysis of the degree of somatic mosaicism in leukocytes from peripheral blood and oral mucosal epithelial stem cells (OMESCs) from biopsies of buccal mucosa showed that approximately 80% were homozygous mutant cells and 20% were heterozygous. Cytogenetic and molecular analyses excluded genomic alterations, thus suggesting a de novo mutation followed by an allelic gene conversion of the wild-type allele by de novo mutant allele as a possible mechanism to explain the homozygous condition. R311K-p63 OMESCs were expanded in vitro and heterozygous holoclones selected following clonal analysis. These R311K-p63 OMESCs were able to generate well-organized and stratified epithelia in vitro, resembling the features of healthy tissues. This study supports the rationale for the development of cultured autologous oral mucosal epithelial stem cell sheets obtained by selected heterozygous R311K-p63 stem cells, as an effective and personalized therapy for reconstructing the ocular surface of this unique case of EEC syndrome, thus bypassing gene therapy approaches. SIGNIFICANCE: This case demonstrates that in a somatic mosaicism context, a novel homozygous mutation in the p63 gene can arise as a consequence of an allelic gene conversion event, subsequent to a de novo mutation. The heterozygous mutant R311K-p63 stem cells can be isolated by means of clonal analysis and given their good regenerative capacity, they may be used to successfully correct the corneal defects present in this unique case of ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting syndrome.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3197132
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