A missense variant affecting the C-terminal tail of UNC93B1 in dogs with exfoliative cutaneous lupus erythematosus (ECLE)

Tosso Leeb, Fabienne Leuthard, Vidhya Jagannathan, Sarah Kiener, Anna Letko, Petra Roosje, Monika M. Welle, Katherine L. Gailbreath, Andrea Cannon, Monika Linek, Frane Banovic, Thierry Olivry, Stephen D. White, Kevin Batcher, Danika Bannasch, Katie M. Minor, James R. Mickelson, Marjo K. Hytönen, Hannes Lohi, Elizabeth A. MauldinMargret L. Casal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) in humans encompasses multiple subtypes that exhibit a wide array of skin lesions and, in some cases, are associated with the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We investigated dogs with exfoliative cutaneous lupus erythematosus (ECLE), a dog-specific form of chronic CLE that is inherited as a monogenic autosomal recessive trait. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) with 14 cases and 29 controls confirmed a previously published result that the causative variant maps to chromosome 18. Autozygosity mapping refined the ECLE locus to a 493 kb critical interval. Filtering of whole genome sequence data from two cases against 654 controls revealed a single private protein-changing variant in this critical interval, UNC93B1:c.1438C>A or p.Pro480Thr. The homozygous mutant genotype was exclusively observed in 23 ECLE affected German Shorthaired Pointers and an ECLE affected Vizsla, but absent from 845 controls. UNC93B1 is a transmembrane protein located in the endoplasmic reticulum and endolysosomes, which is required for correct trafficking of several Toll-like receptors (TLRs). The p.Pro480Thr variant is predicted to affect the C-terminal tail of the UNC93B1 that has recently been shown to restrict TLR7 mediated autoimmunity via an interaction with syndecan binding protein (SDCBP). The functional knowledge on UNC93B1 strongly suggests that p.Pro480Thr is causing ECLE in dogs. These dogs therefore represent an interesting spontaneous model for human lupus erythematosus. Our results warrant further investigations of whether genetic variants affecting the C-terminus of UNC93B1 might be involved in specific subsets of CLE or SLE cases in humans and other species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number159
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Animal model
  • Canis familiaris
  • CLE
  • Dermatology
  • Immunology
  • Skin
  • SLE
  • Syndecan binding protein
  • Syntenin-1
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • TLR7
  • Toll-like receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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