Laryngo-onycho-cutaneous (LOC or Shabbir) syndrome (OMIM 245660) is an autosomal recessive epithelial disorder confined to the Punjabi Muslim population. The condition is characterized by cutaneous erosions, nail dystrophy and exuberant vascular granulation tissue in certain epithelia, especially conjunctiva and larynx. Genome-wide homozygosity mapping localized the gene to a 2 Mb region on chromosome 18q11.2 with an LOD score of 19.8 at ??=0. This region includes the laminin a3 gene (LAMA3), in which loss-of-expression mutations cause the lethal skin blistering disorder Herlitz junctional epidermolysis bullosa. Detailed investigation showed that this gene possesses a further 38 exons (76 exons in total) spanning 318 kb of genomic DNA, and encodes three distinct proteins, designated laminin a3a, a3b1 and a3b2. The causative mutation in 15 families was a frameshift mutation 151insG predicting a stop codon 7 bp downstream in an exon that is specific to laminin a3a. This protein is secreted only by the basal keratinocytes of stratified epithelia, implying that LOC is caused by dysfunction of keratinocyte–mesenchymal communication. Surprisingly, the 151insG mutation does not result in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay due to rescue of the transcript by an alternative translation start site 6 exons downstream. The resultant N-terminal deletion of laminin a3a was confirmed by immunoprecipitation of secreted proteins from LOC keratinocytes. These studies show that the laminin a3a N-terminal domain is a key regulator of the granulation tissue response, with important implications not only in LOC but in a range of other clinical conditions associated with abnormal wound healing.