Background. Herlitz junctional epidermolysis bullosa (H-JEB) is an extremely rare genodermatosis characterized by lethality owing to severe blister formation. We report two unrelated Japanese patients with H-JEB. Genetic analyses detected a single nonsense mutation on the LAMC2 gene in these two patients. Aim. To identify the mutation involved and describe the first reported Japanese recurrent mutation in the LAMC2 gene. Methods. Direct sequencing was performed of DNA from either peripheral blood or fetal cells in amniotic fluid. Reverse transcriptase PCR was used to confirm that an aberrant transcript resulted from the splice site mutation. A haplotype analysis was performed to define the origin of the recurrent mutation. Results. Both patients had blisters and erosions on the trunk and limbs at birth, with nail dystrophy. Patient 1 died as a result of sepsis at 30weeks of age, and patient 2 died as a result of disseminated intravascular coagulation at 20weeks of age. Mutation analysis of the LAMC2 gene revealed that patient 1 was compound heterozygous for a nonsense mutation (p.Cys553X) and a novel splice site mutation (c.2868+1delG), and patient 2 was a homozygous for p.Cys553X. Prenatal diagnosis performed during a subsequent pregnancy in family 2 revealed that this second child was heterozygous for p.Cys553X, and was thus not affected. Haplotype analysis suggested that a p.Cys553X allele derived from the same origin had been independently inherited by these two unrelated families. Conclusions. p.Cys553X in the LAMC2 gene may be a Japanese-specific recurrent mutation as a result of a founder effect, and it may therefore be useful for initial screening in the mutation analysis of H-JEB.
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