Ankyloblepharon-Ectodermal Defects-Cleft Lip/Palate (AEC) Syndrome (Hay-Wells syndrome, MIM #106220) is a rare autosomal dominant ectodermal dysplasia syndrome. It is due to mutations in the p63 gene, known to be a regulatory gene with many downstream gene targets. TP63 is important in the differentiation and proliferation of the epidermis, as well as many other processes including limb and facial development. It is also known that mutations in p63 lead to skin erosions. These erosions, especially on the scalp, are defining features of AEC syndrome and cause significant morbidity and mortality in these patients. It was this fact that led to the 2003 AEC Skin Erosion Workshop. That conference laid the groundwork for the International Research Symposium for AEC Syndrome held at Texas Children's Hospital in 2006. The conference brought together the largest cohort of individuals with AEC syndrome, along with a multitude of physicians and scientists. The overarching goals were to define the clinical and pathologic findings for improved diagnostic criteria, to obtain tissue samples for further study and to define future research directions. The symposium was successful in accomplishing these aims as detailed in this conference report. Following our report, we also present eleven manuscripts within this special section that outline the collective clinical, pathologic and mutational data from eighteen individuals enrolled in the concurrent Baylor College of Medicine IRB-approved protocol: Characterization of AEC syndrome. These collaborative findings will hopefully provide a stepping stone to future translational projects of p63 and p63-related syndromes.
Keywords: ectodermal dysplasia, congenital ectodermal defect, skin, wound healing, p63, TP63, tumor protein p63, bone morphogenetic protein, BMP, fibroblast growth factor, FGF, ectodysplasin A receptor, EDAR, beta-catenin, NOTCH1, p53 apoptosis effector protein, Perp, activated protein kinase C, RACK1, stratifin, SFN, apobec-1-binding protein-1, ABBP1