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1.  Epidermal α6β4 integrin stimulates the influx of immunosuppressive cells during skin tumor promotion 
Journal of Dermatological Science  2012;66(2):108-118.
Induction of α6β4 integrin in the differentiated epidermal cell layers in skin is a hallmark of human cutaneous SCC pathogenesis and stimulates chemically induced SCC formation in Invα6β4 transgenic mice, which exhibit persistent expression of α6β4 in the suprabasal epidermal layers. However, the molecular basis for the support of SCC development by suprabasal α6β4 is not fully understood.
We examined the relevance for suprabasal α6β4 expression in the epidermis for the recruitment of immunosuppressive leukocytes during the early stages of tumor promotion.
In this study, we made use of the Invα6β4 transgenic mouse model, which exhibits expression of α6β4 integrin in the suprabasal layers of the epidermis driven by the involucrin promoter. First, we examined protein lysates from Invα6β4 transgenic skin using a pro-inflammatory cytokine array panel. Next, we immunofluorescence labeling of murine skin sections was employed to immunophenotype tumor promoter-treated Invα6β4 transgenic skin. Finally, a M-CSF neutralizing antibody strategy was administered to resolve Invα6β4 transgenic skin inflammation.
Employing the Invα6β4 transgenic mouse model, we show that suprabasal α6β4 integrin expression selectively alters the profile of secreted pro-inflammatory molecules by epidermal cells, in particular CXCL5 and M-CSF, in response to acute tumor promoter treatment. The induction of CXCL5 and M-CSF in Invα6β4 transgenic epidermis was shortly followed by an exacerbated influx of CD200R+ myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), which co-expressed the M-CSF receptor, and FoxP3+ Treg cells compared to wild-type mice. As a result, the levels of activated CD4+ T lymphocytes were dramatically diminished in Invα6β4 transgenic compared to wild-type skin, whereas similar levels of lymphocyte activation were observed in the peripheral blood. Finally, TPA-induced CD200R+ infiltrative cells and epidermal proliferation were suppressed in Invα6β4 mice treated with M-CSF neutralizing antibodies.
We conclude that aberrant expression of α6β4 integrin in post-mitotic epidermal keratinocytes stimulates a pro-tumorigenic skin microenvironment by augmenting the influx of immunosuppressive granular cells during tumor promotion.
PMCID: PMC3328604  PMID: 22464766
skin carcinogenesis; myeloid-derived suppressor cell; microenvironment; squamous cell carcinoma; keratinocyte
2.  A role for mitogen-activated protein kinase activation by integrins in the pathogenesis of psoriasis 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2001;108(4):527-536.
In normal epidermis, β1 integrin expression is confined to the basal layer, whereas in hyperproliferative epidermis, integrins are also expressed in the suprabasal layers. Transgenic mice in which integrins are expressed suprabasally via the involucrin promoter have a sporadic psoriatic phenotype; however, the mechanism by which integrins contribute to the pathogenesis of psoriasis is unknown. We observed activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in basal and suprabasal keratinocytes of human and transgenic mouse psoriatic lesions and healing mouse skin wounds, correlating in each case with suprabasal integrin expression. Phenotypically normal human and transgenic mouse epidermis did not contain activated MAPK. Transgene-positive keratinocytes produced more IL-1α than controls did, and keratinocyte MAPK could be activated by ligation of suprabasal integrins or treatment with IL-1α. Constitutive activation of MAPK increased the growth rate of human keratinocytes and delayed the onset of terminal differentiation, recreating many of the histological features of psoriatic epidermis. We propose that activation of MAPK by integrins, either directly or through increased IL-1α production, is responsible for epidermal hyperproliferation in psoriasis and wound healing, and that the sporadic phenotype of the transgenic mice may reflect the complex mechanisms by which IL-1 release and responsiveness are controlled in skin.
PMCID: PMC209397  PMID: 11518726
3.  L-3-Phosphoserine Phosphatase (PSPH) Regulates Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Proliferation Independent of L-serine Biosynthesis 
Journal of dermatological science  2011;63(3):164-172.
L-3-phosphoserine phosphatase (Psph) is a highly conserved and widely expressed member of the haloacid dehalogenase superfamily and the rate-limiting enzyme in L-serine biosynthesis. We previously found Psph expression to be uniquely upregulated in a α6β4 integrin transgenic mouse model that is predisposed to epidermal hyperproliferation and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) formation implicating a role for Psph in epidermal homeostasis.
We examined the status of PSPH in normal skin epidermis and skin tumors along with its sub-cellular localization in epidermal keratinocytes and its requirement for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) proliferation.
First, an immunohistochemical study was performed for PSPH in normal skin and skin cancer specimens and in cultured keratinocytes. Next, biochemical analyses were performed to confirm localization of PSPH and to identify candidate binding proteins. Finally, proliferation and apoptosis studies were performed in human SCC and normal keratinocytes, respectively, transduced with vectors encoding small hairpin RNAs targeting PSPH or overexpressing a phosphatase-deficient PSPH mutant.
PSPH is expressed throughout the proliferative layer of the epidermis and hair follicles in rodent and human skin and is highly induced in SCC. In keratinocytes, PSPH is a cytoplasmic protein that primarily localizes to endosomes and is present primarily as a homodimer. Knock down of PSPH dramatically diminished SCC cell proliferation and cyclin D1 levels in the presence of exogenous of L-serine production suggesting a non-canonical role for PSPH in epithelial carcinogenesis.
Psph is highly induced in proliferative normal keratinocytes and in skin tumors. PSPH appears to be critical for the proliferation of SCC cells; however, this phenomenon may not involve the phosphoserine metabolic pathway.
PMCID: PMC3152677  PMID: 21726982
PSPH; epidermis; squamous cell carcinoma; keratinocyte; serine metabolism
4.  Systemic FasL and TRAIL Neutralisation Reduce Leishmaniasis Induced Skin Ulceration 
Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is caused by Leishmania infection of dermal macrophages and is associated with chronic inflammation of the skin. L. aethiopica infection displays two clinical manifestations, firstly ulcerative disease, correlated to a relatively low parasite load in the skin, and secondly non-ulcerative disease in which massive parasite infiltration of the dermis occurs in the absence of ulceration of epidermis. Skin ulceration is linked to a vigorous local inflammatory response within the skin towards infected macrophages. Fas ligand (FasL) and Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) expressing cells are present in dermis in ulcerative CL and both death ligands cause apoptosis of keratinocytes in the context of Leishmania infection. In the present report we show a differential expression of FasL and TRAIL in ulcerative and non-ulcerative disease caused by L. aethiopica. In vitro experiments confirmed direct FasL- and TRAIL-induced killing of human keratinocytes in the context of Leishmania-induced inflammatory microenvironment. Systemic neutralisation of FasL and TRAIL reduced ulceration in a model of murine Leishmania infection with no effect on parasitic loads or dissemination. Interestingly, FasL neutralisation reduced neutrophil infiltration into the skin during established infection, suggesting an additional proinflammatory role of FasL in addition to direct keratinocyte killing in the context of parasite-induced skin inflammation. FasL signalling resulting in recruitment of activated neutrophils into dermis may lead to destruction of the basal membrane and thus allow direct FasL mediated killing of exposed keratinocytes in vivo. Based on our results we suggest that therapeutic inhibition of FasL and TRAIL could limit skin pathology during CL.
Author Summary
Cutaneous leishmaniases are associated with parasite-induced inflammatory lesions of the skin. The degree of clinical pathology is not associated with parasitic burden; on the contrary, ulcerative lesions are associated with low infectious load, and non-ulcerative lesions are associated with an abundant parasite infiltration. Leishmania are intracellular parasites in mammalian hosts and reside in macrophages in the deep layers of the skin, the dermis. The exact mechanism of ulceration in CL is not known and Leishmania parasites do not directly induce destruction of keratinocytes in the most superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis. In this study we investigated if ulcerated lesions were associated with higher expression of FasL- and TRAIL-induced cell-death of keratinocytes. We found a higher expression of FasL and TRAIL in human skin samples from ulcerative as compared to non-ulcerative leishmaniasis. In a mouse model of ulcerative leishmaniasis neutralisation of FasL and TRAIL reduced ulceration. We suggest that FasL and TRAIL participate in the ulcer formation during leishmaniasis both as a chemoattractant of activated neutrophils leading to tissue destruction and through direct killing of keratinocytes. Possible approaches to use this concept in therapeutical interventions with the aim to reduce immunopathology associated with leishmaniasis are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2953481  PMID: 20967287
5.  Stress-Mediated Increases in Systemic and Local Epinephrine Impair Skin Wound Healing: Potential New Indication for Beta Blockers 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(1):e1000012.
Stress, both acute and chronic, can impair cutaneous wound repair, which has previously been mechanistically ascribed to stress-induced elevations of cortisol. Here we aimed to examine an alternate explanation that the stress-induced hormone epinephrine directly impairs keratinocyte motility and wound re-epithelialization. Burn wounds are examined as a prototype of a high-stress, high-epinephrine, wound environment. Because keratinocytes express the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR), another study objective was to determine whether β2AR antagonists could block epinephrine effects on healing and improve wound repair.
Methods and Findings
Migratory rates of normal human keratinocytes exposed to physiologically relevant levels of epinephrine were measured. To determine the role of the receptor, keratinocytes derived from animals in which the β2AR had been genetically deleted were similarly examined. The rate of healing of burn wounds generated in excised human skin in high and low epinephrine environments was measured. We utilized an in vivo burn wound model in animals with implanted pumps to deliver β2AR active drugs to study how these alter healing in vivo. Immunocytochemistry and immunoblotting were used to examine the up-regulation of catecholamine synthetic enzymes in burned tissue, and immunoassay for epinephrine determined the levels of this catecholamine in affected tissue and in the circulation. When epinephrine levels in the culture medium are elevated to the range found in burn-stressed animals, the migratory rate of both cultured human and murine keratinocytes is impaired (reduced by 76%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 56%–95% in humans, p < 0.001, and by 36%, 95% CI 24%–49% in mice, p = 0.001), and wound re-epithelialization in explanted burned human skin is delayed (by 23%, 95% CI 10%–36%, p = 0.001), as compared to cells or tissues incubated in medium without added epinephrine. This impairment is reversed by β2AR antagonists, is absent in murine keratinocytes that are genetically depleted of the β2AR, and is reproduced by incubation of keratinocytes with other β2AR-specific agonists. Activation of the β2AR in cultured keratinocytes signals the down-regulation of the AKT pathway, accompanied by a stabilization of the actin cytoskeleton and an increase in focal adhesion formation, resulting in a nonmigratory phenotype. Burn wound injury in excised human skin also rapidly up-regulates the intra-epithelial expression of the epinephrine synthesizing enzyme phenylethanolamine-N-methyltransferase, and tissue levels of epinephrine rise dramatically (15-fold) in the burn wounded tissue (values of epinephrine expressed as pg/ug protein ± standard error of the mean: unburned control, 0.6 ± 0.36; immediately postburn, 9.6 ± 1.58; 2 h postburn, 3.1 ± 1.08; 24 h post-burn, 6.7 ± 0.94). Finally, using an animal burn wound model (20% body surface in mice), we found that systemic treatment with βAR antagonists results in a significant increase (44%, 95% CI 27%–61%, p < 0.00000001) in the rate of burn wound re-epithelialization.
This work demonstrates an alternate pathway by which stress can impair healing: by stress-induced elevation of epinephrine levels resulting in activation of the keratinocyte β2AR and the impairment of cell motility and wound re-epithelialization. Furthermore, since the burn wound locally generates epinephrine in response to wounding, epinephrine levels are locally, as well as systemically, elevated, and wound healing is impacted by these dual mechanisms. Treatment with beta adrenergic antagonists significantly improves the rate of burn wound re-epithelialization. This work suggests that specific β2AR antagonists may be apt, near-term translational therapeutic targets for enhancing burn wound healing, and may provide a novel, low-cost, safe approach to improving skin wound repair in the stressed individual.
Rivkah Isseroff and colleagues describe how stress-induced elevation of epinephrine levels can impair the healing of burns in mice and suggest that β2 adrenergic receptor antagonists may have a role in improving skin wound repair.
Editors' Summary
Skin—the largest organ in the human body—protects the rest of the body against infection by forming an impervious layer over the whole external body surface. Consequently, if this layer is damaged by rubbing, cutting, or burning, it must be quickly and efficiently repaired. Wound repair (healing) involves several different processes. First, the clotting cascade stops bleeding at the wound site and immune system cells attracted into the site remove any bacteria or debris in the wound. Various factors are released by the immune cells and the other cells in and near the damaged area that encourage the migration of several different sorts of cells into the wound. These cells proliferate and prepare the wound for “re-epithelialization.” In this process, keratinocytes (a type of epithelial cell that makes a tough, insoluble protein called keratin; epithelial cells cover all the surfaces of the body) migrate into the wound site and form a new, intact epithelial layer. If any of these processes fail, the result can be a chronic (long-lasting) nonhealing wound. In particular, if the wound does not re-epithelialize, it remains open and susceptible to infection and loss of body fluids.
Why Was This Study Done?
One factor that impairs the repair of skin wounds is stress. In stressful situations (including situations in which wounds are likely to occur), the human body releases several chemicals that prepare the body for “fight or flight,” including cortisol and epinephrine (also called adrenaline). Most scientists ascribe the effects of stress on wound healing to stress-induced increases in cortisol, but might stress-induced epinephrine also affect wound healing? In this study, the researchers test whether epinephrine impairs keratinocyte migration and re-epithelialization of burn wounds (keratinocytes have a receptor for epinephrine called the β2 adrenergic receptor [β2AR] on their cell surface that allows them to respond to epinephrine). They chose to study burn wounds for two reasons. First, major burns cause a massive release of stress chemicals into the bloodstream that raises blood levels (systemic levels) of cortisol and epinephrine for days or weeks after the initial trauma. Second, despite recent therapeutic advances, many people still die from major burns (4,000 every year in the USA alone) so there is a pressing need for better ways to treat this type of wound.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers investigated the effects of epinephrine on wound healing in three types of experiments. First, they looked at the effect of epinephrine on keratinocytes growing in dishes (in vitro experiments). Levels of epinephrine similar to those in the blood of stressed individuals greatly inhibited the motility and migration of human keratinocytes (isolated from the foreskin of newborn babies) and of mouse keratinocytes. It also inhibited the repair of scratch wounds made in monolayers of keratinocytes growing on dishes. Treatment of the cultures with a β2AR antagonist (a chemical that prevents epinephrine activating the β2AR) reversed the effects of epinephrine. In addition, the migration of mouse keratinocytes that had been genetically altered so that they did not express β2AR was not inhibited by epinephrine. Next, the researchers investigated the healing of burn wounds made in small pieces of human skin growing in dishes (ex vivo experiments). Burn injuries rapidly increased the amount of epinephrine in these tissue explants, they report, and treatment of the explants with a βAR antagonist (an inhibitor of all types of βARs) greatly increased wound re-epithelialization. Finally, the researchers report that the re-epithelialization of burn wounds in living mice was improved when the mice were treated with a β2AR antagonist.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings reveal a second pathway by which stress can impair wound healing. They show that stress-induced increases in systemic and local epinephrine activate β2ARs on keratinocytes and that this activation inhibits keratinocyte motility and wound re-epithelialization. Although results obtained in animals do not always reflect what happens in people, the finding that the treatment of mice with β2AR antagonists improves the rate of burn wound re-epithelialization, suggests that beta blockers—drugs that inhibit all βARs and that are widely used to treat high blood pressure and to prevent heart disease—or specific β2AR antagonists might provide a new therapeutic approach to the treatment of burns and, perhaps, chronic nonhealing wounds.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Wikipedia has pages on wound healing, burn injuries, and epinephrine (Note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on burns (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to other information on burns (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2621262  PMID: 19143471
6.  Selective Ablation of Ctip2/Bcl11b in Epidermal Keratinocytes Triggers Atopic Dermatitis-Like Skin Inflammatory Responses in Adult Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51262.
Ctip2 is crucial for epidermal homeostasis and protective barrier formation in developing mouse embryos. Selective ablation of Ctip2 in epidermis leads to increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL), impaired epidermal proliferation, terminal differentiation, as well as altered lipid composition during development. However, little is known about the role of Ctip2 in skin homeostasis in adult mice.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To study the role of Ctip2 in adult skin homeostasis, we utilized Ctip2ep−/− mouse model in which Ctip2 is selectively deleted in epidermal keratinocytes. Measurement of TEWL, followed by histological, immunohistochemical, and RT-qPCR analyses revealed an important role of Ctip2 in barrier maintenance and in regulating adult skin homeostasis. We demonstrated that keratinocytic ablation of Ctip2 leads to atopic dermatitis (AD)-like skin inflammation, characterized by alopecia, pruritus and scaling, as well as extensive infiltration of immune cells including T lymphocytes, mast cells, and eosinophils. We observed increased expression of T-helper 2 (Th2)-type cytokines and chemokines in the mutant skin, as well as systemic immune responses that share similarity with human AD patients. Furthermore, we discovered that thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) expression was significantly upregulated in the mutant epidermis as early as postnatal day 1 and ChIP assay revealed that TSLP is likely a direct transcriptional target of Ctip2 in epidermal keratinocytes.
Our data demonstrated a cell-autonomous role of Ctip2 in barrier maintenance and epidermal homeostasis in adult mice skin. We discovered a crucial non-cell autonomous role of keratinocytic Ctip2 in suppressing skin inflammatory responses by regulating the expression of Th2-type cytokines. It is likely that the epidermal hyperproliferation in the Ctip2-lacking epidermis may be secondary to the compensatory response of the adult epidermis that is defective in barrier functions. Our results establish an initiating role of epidermal TSLP in AD pathogenesis via a novel repressive regulatory mechanism enforced by Ctip2.
PMCID: PMC3527437  PMID: 23284675
7.  Tnfa Signaling Through Tnfr2 Protects Skin Against Oxidative Stress–Induced Inflammation 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(5):e1001855.
A new zebrafish model of skin inflammatory disease explains new-onset and worsening psoriasis and lichen planus in patients receiving anti-TNFα therapy.
TNFα overexpression has been associated with several chronic inflammatory diseases, including psoriasis, lichen planus, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Paradoxically, numerous studies have reported new-onset psoriasis and lichen planus following TNFα antagonist therapy. Here, we show that genetic inhibition of Tnfa and Tnfr2 in zebrafish results in the mobilization of neutrophils to the skin. Using combinations of fluorescent reporter transgenes, fluorescence microscopy, and flow cytometry, we identified the local production of dual oxidase 1 (Duox1)-derived H2O2 by Tnfa- and Tnfr2-deficient keratinocytes as a trigger for the activation of the master inflammation transcription factor NF-κB, which then promotes the induction of genes encoding pro-inflammatory molecules. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of Duox1 completely abrogated skin inflammation, placing Duox1-derived H2O2 upstream of this positive feedback inflammatory loop. Strikingly, DUOX1 was drastically induced in the skin lesions of psoriasis and lichen planus patients. These results reveal a crucial role for TNFα/TNFR2 axis in the protection of the skin against DUOX1-mediated oxidative stress and could establish new therapeutic targets for skin inflammatory disorders.
Author Summary
Psoriasis and lichen planus are chronic, debilitating skin diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. TNFα is a multifunctional cytokine that mediates acute and chronic inflammation. While TNFα antagonist therapy is used for autoimmune or chronic inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), numerous studies have reported new-onset psoriasis and lichen planus following such therapy. We have used the unique advantages of the zebrafish embryo to identify a novel phenotype that mirrors this unexplained and paradoxical onset of psoriasis and lichen planus. We found that depletion of Tnfa or its receptor Tnfr2 caused skin inflammation and hyperproliferation of keratinocytes through the activation of a Duox1/H2O2/NF-κB positive feedback inflammatory loop. Strikingly, DUOX1 was drastically induced in the skin lesions of psoriasis and lichen planus patients, and pharmacological inhibition of Duox1 abrogated skin inflammation, placing Duox1-derived H2O2 upstream of this inflammatory loop. Our results suggest that therapies targeting DUOX1 and H2O2 could provide innovative approaches to the management of skin inflammatory disorders.
PMCID: PMC4011677  PMID: 24802997
8.  Opposing activities of two novel members of the IL-1 ligand family regulate skin inflammation 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2007;204(11):2603-2614.
The interleukin (IL)-1 family members IL-1α, -1β, and -18 are potent inflammatory cytokines whose activities are dependent on heterodimeric receptors of the IL-1R superfamily, and which are regulated by soluble antagonists. Recently, several new IL-1 family members have been identified. To determine the role of one of these family members in the skin, transgenic mice expressing IL1F6 in basal keratinocytes were generated. IL1F6 transgenic mice exhibit skin abnormalities that are dependent on IL-1Rrp2 and IL-1RAcP, which are two members of the IL-1R family. The skin phenotype is characterized by acanthosis, hyperkeratosis, the presence of a mixed inflammatory cell infiltrate, and increased cytokine and chemokine expression. Strikingly, the combination of the IL-1F6 transgene with an IL1F5 deficiency results in exacerbation of the skin phenotype, demonstrating that IL-1F5 has antagonistic activity in vivo. Skin from IL1F6 transgenic, IL1F5−/− pups contains intracorneal and intraepithelial pustules, nucleated corneocytes, and dilated superficial dermal blood vessels. Additionally, expression of IL1RL2, -1F5, and -1F6 is increased in human psoriatic skin. In summary, dysregulated expression of novel agonistic and antagonistic IL-1 family member ligands can promote cutaneous inflammation, revealing potential novel targets for the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders.
PMCID: PMC2118475  PMID: 17908936
9.  Fibroblast growth factor receptors 1 and 2 in keratinocytes control the epidermal barrier and cutaneous homeostasis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;188(6):935-952.
Loss of FGFRs results in skin abnormalities due to activation of keratinocytes and epidermal T cells.
Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are master regulators of organogenesis and tissue homeostasis. In this study, we used different combinations of FGF receptor (FGFR)-deficient mice to unravel their functions in the skin. Loss of the IIIb splice variants of FGFR1 and FGFR2 in keratinocytes caused progressive loss of skin appendages, cutaneous inflammation, keratinocyte hyperproliferation, and acanthosis. We identified loss of FGF-induced expression of tight junction components with subsequent deficits in epidermal barrier function as the mechanism underlying the progressive inflammatory skin disease. The defective barrier causes activation of keratinocytes and epidermal γδ T cells, which produce interleukin-1 family member 8 and S100A8/A9 proteins. These cytokines initiate an inflammatory response and induce a double paracrine loop through production of keratinocyte mitogens by dermal cells. Our results identify essential roles for FGFs in the regulation of the epidermal barrier and in the prevention of cutaneous inflammation, and highlight the importance of stromal–epithelial interactions in skin homeostasis and disease.
PMCID: PMC2845079  PMID: 20308431
10.  Development of Transgenic Minipigs with Expression of Antimorphic Human Cryptochrome 1 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76098.
Minipigs have become important biomedical models for human ailments due to similarities in organ anatomy, physiology, and circadian rhythms relative to humans. The homeostasis of circadian rhythms in both central and peripheral tissues is pivotal for numerous biological processes. Hence, biological rhythm disorders may contribute to the onset of cancers and metabolic disorders including obesity and type II diabetes, amongst others. A tight regulation of circadian clock effectors ensures a rhythmic expression profile of output genes which, depending on cell type, constitute about 3–20% of the transcribed mammalian genome. Central to this system is the negative regulator protein Cryptochrome 1 (CRY1) of which the dysfunction or absence has been linked to the pathogenesis of rhythm disorders. In this study, we generated transgenic Bama-minipigs featuring expression of the Cys414-Ala antimorphic human Cryptochrome 1 mutant (hCRY1AP). Using transgenic donor fibroblasts as nuclear donors, the method of handmade cloning (HMC) was used to produce reconstructed embryos, subsequently transferred to surrogate sows. A total of 23 viable piglets were delivered. All were transgenic and seemingly healthy. However, two pigs with high transgene expression succumbed during the first two months. Molecular analyzes in epidermal fibroblasts demonstrated disturbances to the expression profile of core circadian clock genes and elevated expression of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α, known to be risk factors in cancer and metabolic disorders.
PMCID: PMC3797822  PMID: 24146819
11.  Keratinocyte Expression of CGRPβ: Implications for Neuropathic and Inflammatory Pain Mechanisms 
Pain  2011;152(9):2036-2051.
Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) is a vasodilatory peptide that has been detected at high levels in the skin, blood, and cerebral spinal fluid under a variety of inflammatory and chronic pain conditions, presumably derived from peptidergic C and Aδ innervation. Herein, CGRP immunolabeling (IL) was detected in epidermal keratinocytes at levels that were especially high and widespread in the skin of humans from locations afflicted with postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) and complex region pain syndrome type 1 (CRPS), of monkeys infected with simian immunodeficiency virus, and of rats subjected to L5/L6 spinal nerve ligation, sciatic nerve chronic constriction, and subcutaneous injection of Complete Freund’s Adjuvant. Increased CGRP-IL was also detected in epidermal keratinocytes of transgenic mice with keratin-14 promoter driven overexpression of noggin, an antagonist to BMP-4 signaling. Transcriptome microarray, qPCR, and Western blot analyses using laser captured mouse epidermis from transgenics, monolayer cultures of human and mouse keratinocytes, and multilayer human keratinocyte organotypic cultures, revealed that keratinocytes express predominantly the beta isoform of CGRP. Cutaneous peptidergic innervation has been shown to express predominantly the alpha isoform of CGRP. Keratinocytes also express the cognate CGRP receptor components, CRLR, RAMP1, and RCP, consistent with known observations that CGRP promotes several functional changes in keratinocytes, including proliferation and cytokine production. Our results indicate that keratinocyte derived CGRPβ may modulate epidermal homeostasis through autocrine/paracrine signaling and may contribute to chronic pain under pathological conditions.
PMCID: PMC3157543  PMID: 21641113
Sensory transduction; Cutaneous innervation; BMP-4; Noggin; Skin; Dermatology
12.  CD8+ T cells Mediate RAS-induced Psoriasis-like Skin Inflammation Through IFN-γ 
The RAS signaling pathway is constitutively activated in psoriatic keratinocytes. We expressed activated H-RASV12G in suprabasal keratinocytes of adult mice and observed rapid development of a psoriasis-like skin phenotype characterized by basal keratinocyte hyperproliferation, acanthosis, hyperkeratosis, intraepidermal neutrophil microabscesses and increased Th1/Th17 and Tc1/Tc17 skin infiltration. The majority of skin infiltrating CD8+ T cells co-expressed IFN-γ and IL-17A. When RAS was expressed on a Rag1−/− background, microabscess formation, iNOS expression and keratinocyte hyperproliferation were suppressed. Depletion of CD8+ but not CD4+ T cells reduced cutaneous and systemic inflammation, the RAS-induced increase in cutaneous Th17 and IL-17+ γΔ T cells, and epidermal hyperproliferation to levels similar to a Rag1−/− background. Reconstitution of Rag1−/− inducible RAS mice with purified CD8+ T cells restored microabscess formation and epidermal hyperproliferation. Neutralization of IFN-γ but not IL-17A in CD8+ T cell reconstituted Rag1−/− mice expressing RAS blocked CD8-mediated skin inflammation, iNOS expression and keratinocyte hyperproliferation. These results show for that CD8+ T cells can orchestrate skin inflammation with psoriasis-like pathology in response to constitutive RAS activation in keratinocytes, and this is primarily mediated through IFN-γ.
PMCID: PMC3577939  PMID: 23151849
CD8+ T cells; RAS; psoriasis model; inflammation
13.  Murine Cutaneous Mastocytosis and Epidermal Melanocytosis Induced by Keratinocyte Expression of Transgenic Stem Cell Factor  
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1998;187(10):1565-1573.
The growth and differentiation of mast cells and melanocytes require stem cell factor (SCF), the ligand for the kit receptor tyrosine kinase. SCF may exist as a membrane-bound or soluble molecule. Abnormalities of the SCF-kit signaling pathway, with increased local concentrations of soluble SCF, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of the human disease cutaneous mastocytosis, but have not yet been shown to play a causal role. To investigate both the potential of SCF to cause mastocytosis and its role in epidermal melanocyte homeostasis, we targeted the expression of SCF to epidermal keratinocytes in mice with two different transgenes controlled by the human keratin 14 promoter. The transgenes contained cDNAs that either produced SCF, which can exist in both membrane-bound and soluble forms, or SCF, which remains essentially membrane bound. Murine epidermal keratinocyte expression of membrane-bound/ soluble SCF reproduced the phenotype of human cutaneous mastocytosis, with dermal mast cell infiltrates and epidermal hyperpigmentation, and caused the maintenance of a population of melanocytes in the interadnexal epidermis, an area where melanocytes and melanin are found in human skin but where they are not typically found in murine skin. Expression of membrane-bound SCF alone resulted in epidermal melanocytosis and melanin production, but did not by itself cause mastocytosis. We conclude, first, that a phenotype matching that of human mastocytosis can be produced in mice by keratinocyte overproduction of soluble SCF, suggesting a potential cause of this disease. Second, we conclude that keratinocyte expression of membrane-bound SCF results in the postnatal maintenance of epidermal melanocytes in mice. Since the resulting animals have skin that more closely approximates human skin than do normal mice, their study may be more relevant to human melanocyte biology than the study of skin of normal mice.
PMCID: PMC2212288  PMID: 9584135
mastocytosis; melanocyte development; stem cell factor; c-KIT; mast cell
14.  Transgene-specific host responses in cutaneous gene therapy: the role of cells expressing the transgene 
Gene therapy  2009;16(9):1138-1145.
A major issue in long-term gene therapy is host immune responses to therapeutic cells when transgene encodes a potential antigen. The nature of these responses depends on several factors including the type of cell and tissue expressing the transgene. Keratinocytes and fibroblasts, which are known to display distinct immunogenic profiles, are both potential targets for transgene expression in cutaneous gene therapy. However, whether there is an immunological advantage in targeting one cell type over the other is not known. To study the effect of cell type on transgene-specific host responses independent of antigen levels or methods of gene transfer and transplantation, we used a skin transplantation model in which transgene expression can be targeted transgene to either keratinocytes or fibroblasts. Although targeting an antigen to either cell type resulted in the induction of immune responses, these responses differed significantly. Transgenic keratinocytes were rejected acutely by a dominant Th2 response, while in the majority of grafted animals transgenic fibroblasts failed to induce acute rejection despite the induction of Th1 type inflammation in the graft. In a small number of mice, transgenic fibroblasts persisted for at least 20 weeks despite elicitation of antigen-specific responses. Therefore, fibroblasts may be an immunologically preferred target over keratinocytes for cutaneous gene therapy.
PMCID: PMC2741533  PMID: 19440226
Skin; Gene therapy; Fibroblast; keratinocytes; Immune responses
15.  A combination of local inflammation and central memory T cells potentiates immunotherapy in the skin 
Adoptive T cell therapy utilises the specificity of the adaptive immune system to target cancer and virally infected cells. Yet the mechanism and means by which to enhance T cell function are incompletely described, especially in the skin. Here, we utilise a murine model of immunotherapy to optimise cell-mediated immunity in the skin. We show that in vitro derived central but not effector memory-like T cells bring about rapid regression of skin expressing cognate antigen as a transgene in keratinocytes. Local inflammation induced by the TLR7 receptor agonist, imiquimod, subtly yet reproducibly decreases time to skin graft rejection elicited by central but not effector memory T cells in an immunodeficient mouse model. Local CCL4, a chemokine liberated by TLR7 agonism, similarly enhances central memory T cell function. In this model, IL-2 facilitates the development of in vivo of effector function from central memory but not effector memory T cells. In a model of T cell tolerogenesis, we further show that adoptively transferred central but not effector memory T cells can give rise to successful cutaneous immunity that is dependent on a local inflammatory cue in the target tissue at the time of adoptive T cell transfer. Thus, adoptive T cell therapy efficacy can be enhanced if CD8+ T cells with a central memory T cell phenotype are transferred and IL-2 is present with contemporaneous local inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3518562  PMID: 23144496
Rodent; T Cells; cytotoxic; Inflammation; Memory; Skin
16.  Induction of GITRL Expression in Human Keratinocytes by TH2 cytokines and TNFα: Implications for Atopic Dermatitis 
Clinical and Experimental Allergy  2012;42(4):550-559.
Glucocorticoid-induced TNF receptor-related protein ligand (GITRL), a ligand for the T cell co-stimulatory molecule GITR, is expressed by keratinocytes and involved in chemokine production. The expression of GITRL in skin inflammation is unknown.
This study investigated cytokine regulation of keratinocyte GITRL expression.
GITRL expression was evaluated in cytokine treated human epidermal keratinocytes (HEK)s, murine PAM 212 cell line, murine and human skin explants by real time PCR, flow cytometry and immunostaining. Functional responses to GITR fusion protein were examined by real time PCR and ELISA. GITRL expression in AD and psoriasis was studied by immunohistochemistry.
Skin biopsies from STAT6VT transgenic mice, which develop spontaneous atopic skin inflammation, were found by immunofluoresence, to have increased keratinocyte GITRL expression. Exposure to Th2 cytokines augmented GITRL mRNA expression in the murine PAM 212 keratinocytic cell line and murine skin explants. In contrast, GITRL mRNA and protein expression was only increased in HEKs and human skin explants in the presence of the combination of TNFα and Th2 cytokines. A synergistic effect of Th2 cytokines and GITR fusion protein on production of CCL17, the Th2 chemokine, by murine keratinocytes was demonstrated. Immunohistochemical staining showed that acute AD lesions have increased expression of GITRL compared with normal skin, chronic AD lesions and psoriatic plaques.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance
Our studies demonstrate that GITRL expression is augmented by Th2 cytokines and TNFα in keratinocytes. Increased GITRL expession in acute AD skin lesions is shown. This data suggests a link between cytokine regulated keratinocyte GITRL expression and its role in inflammatory responses in AD.
PMCID: PMC3306062  PMID: 22417213
Skin; Th2 cytokines; atopic dermatitis
17.  Chronic Proliferative Dermatitis in Sharpin Null Mice: Development of an Autoinflammatory Disease in the Absence of B and T Lymphocytes and IL4/IL13 Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85666.
SHARPIN is a key regulator of NFKB and integrin signaling. Mice lacking Sharpin develop a phenotype known as chronic proliferative dermatitis (CPDM), typified by progressive epidermal hyperplasia, apoptosis of keratinocytes, cutaneous and systemic eosinophilic inflammation, and hypoplasia of secondary lymphoid organs. Rag1−/− mice, which lack mature B and T cells, were crossed with Sharpin−/− mice to examine the role of lymphocytes in CDPM. Although inflammation in the lungs, liver, and joints was reduced in these double mutant mice, dermatitis was not reduced in the absence of functional lymphocytes, suggesting that lymphocytes are not primary drivers of the inflammation in the skin. Type 2 cytokine expression is increased in CPDM. In an attempt to reduce this aspect of the phenotype, Il4ra−/− mice, unresponsive to both IL4 and IL13, were crossed with Sharpin−/− mice. Double homozygous Sharpin−/−, Il4ra−/− mice developed an exacerbated granulocytic dermatitis, acute system inflammation, as well as hepatic necrosis and mineralization. High expression of CHI3L4, normally seen in CPDM skin, was abolished in Sharpin−/−, Il4ra−/− double mutant mice indicating the crucial role of IL4 and IL13 in the expression of this protein. Cutaneous eosinophilia persisted in Sharpin−/−, Il4ra−/− mice, although expression of Il5 mRNA was reduced and the expression of Ccl11 and Ccl24 was completely abolished. TSLP and IL33 were both increased in the skin of Sharpin−/− mice and this was maintained in Sharpin−/−, Il4ra−/− mice suggesting a role for TSLP and IL33 in the eosinophilic dermatitis in SHARPIN-deficient mice. These studies indicate that cutaneous inflammation in SHARPIN-deficient mice is autoinflammatory in nature developing independently of B and T lymphocytes, while the systemic inflammation seen in CPDM has a strong lymphocyte-dependent component. Both the cutaneous and systemic inflammation is enhanced by loss of IL4 and IL13 signaling indicating that these cytokines normally play an anti-inflammatory role in SHARPIN-deficient mice.
PMCID: PMC3897490  PMID: 24465642
18.  Loss of syndecan-1 is associated with malignant conversion in skin carcinogenesis 
Molecular carcinogenesis  2010;49(4):363-373.
Syndecan-1 (sdc-1) is a cell surface proteoglycan that mediates the interaction of cells with their matrix, influencing attachment, migration and response to growth factors. In keratinocytes, loss of sdc-1 delays wound healing, reduces migration, and increases TGFβ1 expression. In this study we show that sdc-1 expression is significantly reduced in basal cell, squamous cell, and metastatic human skin cancers compared to normal human skin. In experimental mouse skin tumor induction, compared to wildtype (wt) BALB/c mice, papilloma formation in sdc-1 null mice was reduced by 50% and the percent of papillomas converting to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) was enhanced. Sdc-1 expression on wildtype mouse papillomas decreased as they converted to SCC. Furthermore, papillomas forming on sdc-1 null mice expressed suprabasal α3 and β4 integrins; suprabasal β4 integrin is a marker of a high risk for progression. While the proliferative response to TPA did not differ among the genotypes, sdc-1 null mice had an enhanced inflammatory response and retained higher levels of total TGFβ1 within their skin after TPA treatment. Sdc-1 null keratinocytes, transduced in vitro by oncogenic rasHa, expressed higher levels of β4 integrin and had enhanced pSmad2 signaling and reduced senescence when compared to wildtype rasHa transduced keratinocytes. When rasHa transduced cells of both genotypes were grafted onto nude mice, null tumors converted to SCC with higher frequency confirming the skin painting experiments. These data indicate that sdc-1 is important both early in the development of skin tumors and in progression of skin cancers suggesting that reduced expression of sdc-1 could be a useful marker for progression in neoplastic skin lesions.
PMCID: PMC3653623  PMID: 20082322
skin carcinogenesis; keratinocytes; syndecan-1; integrin; laminin 332; TGFβ1; ras oncogene
19.  Vascular endothelium-specific overexpression of human catalase in cloned pigs 
Transgenic Research  2010;20(5):989-1001.
The objective of this study was to develop transgenic Yucatan minipigs that overexpress human catalase (hCat) in an endothelial-specific manner. Catalase metabolizes hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), an important regulator of vascular tone that contributes to diseases such as atherosclerosis and preeclampsia. A large animal model to study reduced endothelium-derived H2O2 would therefore generate valuable translational data on vascular regulation in health and disease. Yucatan minipig fetal fibroblasts stably co-transfected with human catalase (Tie2-hCat) and eGFP expression constructs were isolated into single-cell populations. The presence of the Tie2-hCat transgene in individual colonies of fibroblasts was determined by PCR. Transgenic fibroblasts were used for nuclear transfer into enucleated oocytes by electrofusion. A minimum of 140 cloned embryos were transferred per surrogate sow (n = 4). All four surrogates maintained pregnancies and piglets were delivered by cesarean section. Nine male piglets from three of the four litters carried the Tie2-hCat transgene. Expression of human catalase mRNA and overall elevated catalase protein in isolated umbilical endothelial cells from transgenic piglets were verified by RT–PCR and western blot, respectively, and endothelial localization was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Increased enzymatic activity of catalase in transgenic versus wild-type endothelial cells was inferred based on significantly reduced levels of H2O2 in culture. The similarities in swine and human cardiovascular anatomy and physiology will make this pig model a valuable source of information on the putative role of endothelium-derived H2O2 in vasodilation and in the mechanisms underlying vascular health and disease.
PMCID: PMC3286124  PMID: 21170678
Endothelium; Catalase; Hydrogen peroxide; Swine; Somatic cell nuclear transfer; Vascular
20.  Integrin A6 Cleavage in Mouse Skin Tumors 
We have previously identified a structural variant of the α6 integrin (Laminin receptor) called α6p. The α6p variant is a 70 kDa form of the full-length α6 integrin (140 kDa) that remains paired with either the β1 or β4 subunit on the cell surface. α6p is produced by urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), which removes the extracellular β-barrel domain while the receptor is on the cell surface. The α6p integrin was present in human prostate cancer tissue but not in normal tissue and the cleavage of the α6 integrin extracellular domain promotes tumor cell invasion and migration on laminin. The objective of the present study was to determine whether the α6p integrin is observed in other models of carcinogenesis. Our results indicate detectable low levels of α6p in normal mouse skin, and comparatively elevated levels in mouse papillomas and squamous cell carcinomas induced by DMBA, TPA and MNNG treatments. Furthermore, we have found that α6p was present at high levels in skin melanomas of transgenic mice that over express activated Ha-ras under the control of the tyrosinase promoter. Finally, subcutaneous injection into athymic nude mice of a malignant mouse keratinocyte derived cell line (6M90) that is α6p negative, results in the development of tumors that contain α6p integrin. The latter results indicate that α6p is induced in vivo suggesting that the tumor microenvironment plays a major role in the production of α6p. Taken together, these data suggest that the cell surface cleavage of the α6 integrin may be a novel mechanism of integrin regulation and might be an important step during skin tissue remodeling and during carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2906811  PMID: 20664806
21.  Spontaneous atopic dermatitis in mice expressing an inducible thymic stromal lymphopoietin transgene specifically in the skin 
The cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD) and other allergic diseases in humans. To further characterize its role in this disease process, transgenic mice were generated that express a keratinocyte-specific, tetracycline-inducible TSLP transgene. Skin-specific overexpression of TSLP resulted in an AD-like phenotype, with the development of eczematous lesions containing inflammatory dermal cellular infiltrates, a dramatic increase in Th2 CD4+ T cells expressing cutaneous homing receptors, and elevated serum levels of IgE. These transgenic mice demonstrate that TSLP can initiate a cascade of allergic inflammation in the skin and provide a valuable animal model for future study of this common disease.
PMCID: PMC2212851  PMID: 16103410
22.  EMILIN1–α4/α9 integrin interaction inhibits dermal fibroblast and keratinocyte proliferation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2011;195(1):131-145.
The α4/α9 integrins directly engage the ECM glycoprotein EMILIN1 to inhibit skin cell proliferation upstream of TGF-β signaling.
EMILIN1 promotes α4β1 integrin–dependent cell adhesion and migration and reduces pro–transforming growth factor–β processing. A knockout mouse model was used to unravel EMILIN1 functions in skin where the protein was abundantly expressed in the dermal stroma and where EMILIN1-positive fibrils reached the basal keratinocyte layer. Loss of EMILIN1 caused dermal and epidermal hyperproliferation and accelerated wound closure. We identified the direct engagement of EMILIN1 to α4β1 and α9β1 integrins as the mechanism underlying the homeostatic role exerted by EMILIN1. The lack of EMILIN1–α4/α9 integrin interaction was accompanied by activation of PI3K/Akt and Erk1/2 pathways as a result of the reduction of PTEN. The down-regulation of PTEN empowered Erk1/2 phosphorylation that in turn inhibited Smad2 signaling by phosphorylation of residues Ser245/250/255. These results highlight the important regulatory role of an extracellular matrix component in skin proliferation. In addition, EMILIN1 is identified as a novel ligand for keratinocyte α9β1 integrin, suggesting prospective roles for this receptor–ligand pair in skin homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3187715  PMID: 21949412
23.  Melanocortin MC1 receptor in human genetics and model systems 
European journal of pharmacology  2011;660(1):103-110.
The melanocortin MC1 receptor is a G -protein coupled receptor expressed in melanocytes of the skin and hair and is known for its key role in regulation of human pigmentation. Melanocortin MC1 receptor activation after ultraviolet radiation exposure results in a switch from the red/yellow pheomelanin to the brown/black eumelanin pigment synthesis within cutaneous melanocytes; this pigment is then transferred to the surrounding keratinocytes of the skin. The increase in melanin maturation and uptake results in tanning of the skin, providing a physical protection of skin cells from ultraviolet radiation induced DNA damage. Melanocortin MC 1 receptor polymorphism is widespread within the Caucasian population and some variant alleles are associated with red hair colour, fair skin, poor tanning and increased risk of skin cancer. Here we will discuss the use of mouse coat colour models, human genetic association studies, and in vitro cell culture studies to determine the complex functions of the melanocortin MC1 receptor and the molecular mechanisms underlying the association between melanocortin MC1 receptor variant alleles and the red hair colour phenotype. Recent research indicates that melanocortin MC1 receptor has many non-pigmentary functions, and that the increased risk of skin cancer conferred by melanocortin MC1 receptor variant alleles is to some extent independent of pigmentation phenotypes. The use of new transgenic mouse models, the study of novel melanocortin MC1 receptor response genes and the use of more advanced human skin models such as 3D skin reconstruction may provide key elements in understanding the pharmacogenetics of human melanocortin MC1 receptor polymorphism .
PMCID: PMC3095693  PMID: 21199646
melanocortin 1 receptor; melanoma; red hair colour; melanocyte; tanning; pigmentation
24.  The Human Papillomavirus Type 8 E2 Protein Suppresses β4-Integrin Expression in Primary Human Keratinocytes 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(19):10738-10746.
Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) infect keratinocytes of skin and mucosa. Homeostasis of these constantly renewing, stratified epithelia is maintained by balanced keratinocyte proliferation and terminal differentiation. Instructions from the extracellular matrix engaging integrins strongly regulate these keratinocyte functions. The papillomavirus life cycle parallels the differentiation program of stratified epithelia, and viral progeny is produced only in terminally differentiating keratinocytes. Whereas papillomavirus oncoproteins can inhibit keratinocyte differentiation, the viral transcription factor E2 seems to counterbalance the impact of oncoproteins. In this study we show that high expression of HPV type 8 (HPV8) E2 in cultured primary keratinocytes leads to strong down-regulation of β4-integrin expression levels, partial reduction of β1-integrin, and detachment of transfected keratinocytes from underlying structures. Unlike HPV18 E2-expressing keratinocytes, HPV8 E2 transfectants did not primarily undergo apoptosis. HPV8 E2 partially suppressed β4-integrin promoter activity by binding to a specific E2 binding site leading to displacement of at least one cellular DNA binding factor. To our knowledge, we show for the first time that specific E2 binding contributes to regulation of a cellular promoter. In vivo, decreased β4-integrin expression is associated with detachment of keratinocytes from the underlying basement membrane and their egress from the basal to suprabasal layers. In papillomavirus disease, β4-integrin down-regulation in keratinocytes with higher E2 expression may push virally infected cells into the transit-amplifying compartment and ensure their commitment to the differentiation process required for virus replication.
PMCID: PMC516394  PMID: 15367640
25.  Transcription analysis in the MeLiM swine model identifies RACK1 as a potential marker of malignancy for human melanocytic proliferation 
Molecular Cancer  2008;7:34.
Metastatic melanoma is a severe disease. Few experimental animal models of metastatic melanoma exist. MeLiM minipigs exhibit spontaneous melanoma. Cutaneous and metastatic lesions are histologically similar to human's. However, most of them eventually spontaneously regress. Our purpose was to investigate whether the MeLiM model could reveal markers of malignancy in human melanocytic proliferations.
We compared the serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) between normal pig skin melanocytes and melanoma cells from an early pulmonary metastasis of MeLiM minipigs. Tag identification revealed 55 regulated genes, including GNB2L1 which was found upregulated in the melanoma library. In situ hybridisation confirmed GNB2L1 overexpression in MeLiM melanocytic lesions. GNB2L1 encodes the adaptor protein RACK1, recently shown to influence melanoma cell lines tumorigenicity. We studied the expression of RACK1 by immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy in tissues specimens of normal skin, in cutaneous and metastatic melanoma developped in MeLiM minipigs and in human patients. In pig and human samples, the results were similar. RACK1 protein was not detected in normal epidermal melanocytes. By contrast, RACK1 signal was highly increased in the cytoplasm of all melanocytic cells of superficial spreading melanoma, recurrent dermal lesions and metastatic melanoma. RACK1 partially colocalised with activated PKCαβ. In pig metastases, additional nuclear RACK1 did not associate to BDNF expression. In human nevi, the RACK1 signal was low.
RACK1 overexpression detected in situ in human melanoma specimens characterized cutaneous and metastatic melanoma raising the possibility that RACK1 can be a potential marker of malignancy in human melanoma. The MeLiM strain provides a relevant model for exploring mechanisms of melanocytic malignant transformation in humans. This study may contribute to a better understanding of melanoma pathophysiology and to progress in diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC2387171  PMID: 18442364

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