Exudative epidermitis (EE) is an acute, often fatal skin disease of piglets caused by Staphylococcus hyicus. Clinical and histopathological manifestations of EE are similar to those of staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS), a human blistering skin disease, in which exfoliative toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus digest the extracellular domains of desmoglein (Dsg) 1 and cause loss of epidermal cell-cell adhesion. The aims of this study were to isolate and characterize cDNA for full length of swine Dsg1, and to determine whether the extracellular domains of swine Dsg1 produced by baculovirus (sDsg1-His) could be digested by four isoforms of exfoliative toxin produced by S. hyicus (ExhA, ExhB, ExhC and ExhD). Nucleotide sequencing revealed that swine Dsg1 cDNA consisted of an open reading frame of 3138 bp, encoding a precursor protein of 1045 amino acids. Deduced amino acid sequence of the swine Dsg1 precursor were highly homologous to corresponding bovine, canine, human and murine sequences. Immunoadsorption assay with a secreted form of sDsg1-His revealed that sDsg1-His specifically absorbs the immunoreactivity of 10 human pemphigus foliaceus sera against swine keratinocyte cell surfaces, suggesting its proper conformation. When sDsg1-His was incubated in vitro with Exhs, all four isoforms of Exh directly digested sDsg1-His into smaller peptides, whereas removal of calcium from sDsg1-His completely inhibited its proteolysis by these four Exhs. Recognition and digestion of calcium-stabilized structure on the extracellular domains of swine Dsg1 by Exhs indicated that EE shares similar molecular pathophysiological mechanisms of intra-epidermal splitting with SSSS in humans.
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