The Connexin31 F137L mutant mouse as a model for the human skin disease Erythrokeratodermia variabilis (EKV)

Marc Schnichels, Philipp Wörsdörfer, Radoslaw Dobrowolski, Christian Markopoulos, Markus Kretz, Gabriele Schwarz, Elke Winterhager, Klaus Willecke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Erythrokeratodermia variabilis (EKV) is a rare autosomal dominant human genodermatosis. Its clinical appearance varies from transient, fast moving erythemas to persistent brown hyperkeratoses. So far, several mutations in the Cx31 or Cx30.3 gene have been reported to cause EKV in humans. We have generated a conditional mouse mutant that carries the human F137L mutation in the Cx31 gene which was described to act in a transdominant negative manner. The phenylalanine residue at position 137 is highly conserved in several human and mouse connexin genes. Mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells expressing one allele of the Cx31F137L mutation were stable but showed ∼30% decreased transfer of neurobiotin. This is probably due to dominant negative effects of the Cx31F137L protein on wild type Cx31 and Cx43 protein expressed in ES cells. Surprisingly, the healing process of tail incision wounds in Cx31+/F137L mice was shortened by 1 day, i.e. very similar as previously reported for mice with decreased expression of Cx43 in the epidermis. This suggests again that Cx31 and Cx43 proteins functionally interact, possibly by forming heteromeric channels in the epidermis. Heterozygous Cx31+/F137L mice are viable and fertile, in contrast to homozygous Cx31F137L/F137L mice that die around ED 7.5. In Cx31+/F137L mice, the epidermal expression pattern and level of Cx26, Cx30, Cx30.3 and Cx43 proteins were not altered compared with wild-type mice. No erythemas were detected in young C31+/F137L mice before 2 weeks of age. In contrast to human EKV patients, hyperproliferation of the stratum germinativum was found in only 5% of the analyzed skin area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1216-1224
Number of pages9
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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