RAC1 activation drives pathologic interactions between the epidermis and immune cells.
ABSTRACT: Interactions between the epidermis and the immune system govern epidermal tissue homeostasis. These epidermis-immune interactions are altered in the inflammatory disease psoriasis; however, the pathways that underlie this aberrant immune response are not well understood. Here, we determined that Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (RAC1) is a key mediator of epidermal dysfunction. RAC1 activation was consistently elevated in psoriatic epidermis and primary psoriatic human keratinocytes (PHKCs) exposed to psoriasis-related stimuli, but not in skin from patients with basal or squamous cell carcinoma. Expression of a constitutively active form of RAC1 (RACV12) in mice resulted in the development of lesions similar to those of human psoriasis that required the presence of an intact immune system. RAC1V12-expressing mice and human psoriatic skin showed similar RAC1-dependent signaling as well as transcriptional overlap of differentially expressed epidermal and immune pathways. Coculture of PHKCs with immunocytes resulted in the upregulation of RAC1-dependent proinflammatory cytokines, an effect that was reproduced by overexpressing RAC1 in normal human keratinocytes. In keratinocytes, modulating RAC1 activity altered differentiation, proliferation, and inflammatory pathways, including STAT3, NF?B, and zinc finger protein 750 (ZNF750). Finally, RAC1 inhibition in xenografts composed of human PHKCs and immunocytes abolished psoriasiform hyperplasia and inflammation in vivo. These studies implicate RAC1 as a potential therapeutic target for psoriasis and as a key orchestrator of pathologic epidermis-immune interactions.
Project description:Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by epidermal hyperplasia and angiogenesis. Recently, vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFRs, including VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3) were found to be expressed in normal human epidermis and associated with proliferation and migration of keratinocytes. The purpose of this study is to investigate the expression of VEGFRs on psoriatic keratinocytes and the roles of calcium and VEGF in regulating VEGFR expression. Skin samples from 17 patients with chronic plaque psoriasis and 11 normal controls were included. The expression of VEGFRs in psoriatic keratinocytes at mRNA and protein levels was determined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blot analysis. Localization of the VEGFRs in skin lesions was determined by immuno-fluorescent method. Since keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation rely on calcium concentrations, and VEGF is overexpressed in psoriatic epidermis, we further investigated the roles of calcium and VEGF in regulating the expression of VEGFRs. Overexpression of VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3 in psoriatic epidermis was demonstrated both at mRNA and protein levels in vitro. VEGFRs were strongly labeled in non-lesional, perilesional and lesional psoriatic keratinocytes in all viable epidermal stratums in vivo. Furthermore, both exogenous VEGF165 and calcium enhanced the expression of VEGFRs. Calcium also enhanced the expression of VEGF in non-lesional psoriatic keratinocytes, while targeted blockade of VEGF activity by bevacizumab could not inhibit calcium-induced up-regulation of protein levels of VEGFRs. We conclude from these results that VEGFRs are overexpressed in lesional psoriatic epidermal keratinocytes. Both calcium and VEGF regulate VEGFRs expression in psoriatic epidermis. More importantly, calcium is a potential regulator for VEGFR independent of VEGF.
Project description:We present a computational model to study the spatio-temporal dynamics of epidermis homoeostasis under normal and pathological conditions. The model consists of a population kinetics model of the central transition pathway of keratinocyte proliferation, differentiation and loss and an agent-based model that propagates cell movements and generates the stratified epidermis. The model recapitulates observed homoeostatic cell density distribution, the epidermal turnover time and the multilayered tissue structure. We extend the model to study the onset, recurrence and phototherapy-induced remission of psoriasis. The model considers psoriasis as a parallel homoeostasis of normal and psoriatic keratinocytes originated from a shared stem cell (SC) niche environment and predicts two homoeostatic modes of psoriasis: a disease mode and a quiescent mode. Interconversion between the two modes can be controlled by interactions between psoriatic SCs and the immune system and by normal and psoriatic SCs competing for growth niches. The prediction of a quiescent state potentially explains the efficacy of multi-episode UVB irradiation therapy and recurrence of psoriasis plaques, which can further guide designs of therapeutics that specifically target the immune system and/or the keratinocytes.
Project description:Amphiregulin (AR) is a heparin-binding, heparin-inhibited member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family and an autocrine growth factor for human keratinocytes. Previous studies have shown that AR expression is increased in psoriatic epidermis. To test the hypothesis that aberrant AR expression is central to the development of psoriatic lesions, we constructed a transgene (K14-ARGE) encoding a human keratin 14 promoter-driven AR gene. Our results indicate that transgene integration and subsequent expression of AR in basal keratinocytes correlated with a psoriasis-like skin phenotype. Afflicted mice demonstrated shortened life spans, prominent scaling and erythematous skin with alopecia, and occasional papillomatous epidermal growths. Histologic examination revealed extensive areas of marked hyperkeratosis with focal parakeratosis, acanthosis, dermal and epidermal lymphocytic and neutrophilic infiltration, and dilated blood vessels within the papillary dermis. Our results reveal that AR exerts activity in the skin that is distinct from that of transgenic transforming growth factor-alpha or other cytokines, and induces skin pathology with striking similarities to psoriasis. Our observations also link the keratinocyte EGF receptor-ligand system to psoriatic inflammation, and suggest that aberrant expression of AR in the epidermis may represent a critical step in the development or propagation of psoriatic lesions.
Project description:Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder with aberrant regulation of keratinocytes and immunocytes. Although it is well known that uncontrolled keratinocyte proliferation is largely driven by proinflammatory cytokines from the immunocytes, the functional role of keratinocytes in the regulation of immunocytes is poorly understood. Recently, we found that tripartite motif-containing protein 32 (Trim32), an E3-ubiquitin ligase, is elevated in the epidermal lesions of human psoriasis. We previously showed that Trim32 binds to the protein inhibitor of activated STAT-Y (Piasy) and mediates its degradation through ubiquitination. Interestingly, the Piasy gene is localized in the PSORS6 susceptibility locus on chromosome 19p13, and Piasy negatively regulates the activities of several transcription factors, including NF-kappaB, STAT, and SMADs, that are implicated in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. In this study, we show that Trim32 activates, and Piasy inhibits, keratinocyte production of CC chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20), a psoriatic chemokine essential for recruitment of DCs and T helper (Th)17 cells to the skin. Further, Trim32/Piasy regulation of CCL20 is mediated through Piasy interaction with the RelA/p65 subunit of NF-kappaB. As CCL20 is activated by Th17 cytokines, the upregulation of CCL20 production by Trim32 provides a positive feedback loop of CCL20 and Th17 activation in the self-perpetuating cycle of psoriasis.
Project description:Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by exaggerated keratinocyte proliferation. Current opinion indicates that psoriasis is driven by T cell-mediated immune responses targeting keratinocytes. However, psoriasis cannot be explained solely on the basis of T-cell activation, and it is likely that an intrinsic alteration in epidermal keratinocytes plays a very important role in disease expression. Syndecans comprise a major family of cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans. Several studies indicate their role in adhesion, cell-extracellular matrix interactions, migration, keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation, inflammation, and wound healing. To determine the expression of syndecan-1 in psoriasis, skin samples from 29 patients with fully developed psoriasis and skin samples from 14 healthy volunteer persons with no personal or family history of psoriasis were immunohistochemically examined using monoclonal antibody against syndecan-1. The expression of syndecan-1 was analyzed in whole mount section of psoriatic and non-psoriatic skin biopsies under high magnification (400x). In addition, the intensity and topography of reaction in the cell, as well as localization of positive cells in the epidermis were evaluated. Strong syndecan-1 reactivity in epidermal cells in all non-psoriatic and psoriatic samples was observed. Statistical analysis showed no significant differences between two analyzed groups (P > 0.05). In normal skin syndecan-1 was expressed in full thickness of the epidermis. The strongest reaction was observed in membranes and intercellular junctions of spinous and granular layer while basal cells showed weaker expression that was confined to cytoplasm. In psoriatic skin syndecan-1 was expressed in the membrane and intercellular junction of cells located in thickened and elongated rete ridges of the epidermis. The strongest reaction was in basal and suprabasal layers and expression diminished through spinous layer. Cells in spinous layer lose syndecan-1 expression, which is opposite pattern to normal skin. Our results suggest that aberrant skin expression of syndecan-1 may be involved in the development of psoriasis.
Project description:Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory systemic disease. Epidermal proteins are considered to be important in maintaining skin barrier function, innate immunity, and inflammation. To define more possible roles of the epidermis in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, quantified proteomic analysis was used to screen and analyze the differentially expressed epidermal proteins between 16 psoriasis patients and 15 healthy controls. Upregulated differential expression proteins (DEPs) include several significant functional protein clusters, including antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and antiviral proteins (AVPs). The levels of 2-5-oligoadenylate synthase 2 (OAS2) in both epidermis and serum levels were significantly elevated in psoriasis and were also positively correlated with Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) scores and Body Surface Area (BSA) scores. Moreover, OAS2 expression in psoriatic skin significantly decreased after IL-17R mono-antibody treatment. It has been clarified that inflamed keratinocytes were the main source of abnormally increased OAS2 in psoriasis skin by immunofluorescence and primary cell cultures. Keratinocyte-derived OAS2 can be induced by not only IFNβ, but also psoriasis associated cytokines like IL-17A and IL-6. This study revealed that AMPs and AVPs are two important functional protein clusters altering innate immune in psoriatic epidermis. OAS2 is a novel potential sensitive biomarker, which could predict the severity and activity of psoriasis, and could also be used as an indicator to evaluate or monitor the efficacy of clinical treatment.
Project description:It was previously reported that the expression of CD274 was down-regulated in psoriatic epidermis, leading to immune disorders of psoriasis. However, the regulatory mechanisms of CD274 were rarely elucidated. We aimed to explore the regulatory mechanisms of CD274. Skin samples were collected from 18 patients with psoriasis vulgaris and 9 healthy participants for RNA sequencing. Candidate genes were chosen based on degree and k-core difference of genes in the co-expression network. The relations between candidate genes and CD274 were validated by flow cytometry and real-time PCR in primary human epidermal keratinocytes. The therapeutic effect of indirubin was assessed in an imiquimod-treated mouse model. Interferon-? (IFN-?), cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 1, Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3), TLR4 and interleukin (IL)-17A were considered as candidate genes. In primary human epidermal keratinocytes, the level of CD274 was obviously increased under the stimulation of IFN-? and CDK1 inhibitor (indirubin), independent of TLR4, TLR3 or IL-17A. Indirubin alleviated the severity of psoriatic mice in a CD274-dependent manner. Co-expression network analysis served as an effective method for the exploration of molecular mechanisms. We demonstrated for the first time that CD274 was the regulator of indirubin-mediated effect on mouse psoriasis-like skin lesion based on co-expression network analysis, contributing to the alleviation of mouse psoriasis-like skin lesion.
Project description:In the early stages of wound healing, keratinocytes become “activated” and release inflammatory molecules such as interleukin-1 and interleukin-8 that are linked to innate immune responses and neutrophil recruitment. It is unclear, however, whether keratinocytes release molecules linked to adaptive immune responses, e.g. CCL20, in their early state of activation without signals from infiltrating T cells. This study aims to isolate the immediate alterations in protective and inflammatory gene expression that occur in epidermal keratinocytes, with a particular focus on molecules associated with cell-mediated immunity. We used dispase-separated epidermis, followed by intercellular disassociation by trypsinization, as a model for epidermal injury. We obtained a pure population of keratinocytes using flow cytometry. As a control for uninjured epidermis, we performed laser capture microdissection on normal human skin. Sorted keratinocytes had an early burst of upregulated gene expression, which included CCL20, IL-15, IL-23A, IFN-κ, and several antimicrobial peptides. Our results provide insight into the potential role of keratinocytes as contributors to cell-mediated inflammation, and expand knowledge about gene modulation that occurs during early wound healing. Our findings may be relevant to cutaneous diseases such as psoriasis, where micro-injury can trigger the formation of psoriatic plaques at the site of trauma. Compare keratinocyte response to cell disassociation with (1) epidermal samples isolated by laser caputre microscopy and (2) cultured KCs
Project description:Psoriasis is a characteristic inflammatory and scaly skin condition with typical histopathological features including increased proliferation and hampered differentiation of keratinocytes. The activation of innate and adaptive inflammatory cellular immune responses is considered to be the main trigger factor of the epidermal changes in psoriatic skin. However, the molecular players that are involved in enhanced proliferation and impaired differentiation of psoriatic keratinocytes are only partly understood. One important factor that regulates differentiation on the cellular level is Ca(2+). In normal epidermis, a Ca(2+) gradient exists that is disturbed in psoriatic plaques, favoring impaired keratinocyte proliferation. Several TRPC channels such as TRPC1, TRPC4, or TRPC6 are key proteins in the regulation of high [Ca(2+)](ex) induced differentiation. Here, we investigated if TRPC channel function is impaired in psoriasis using calcium imaging, RT-PCR, western blot analysis and immunohistochemical staining of skin biopsies. We demonstrated substantial defects in Ca(2+) influx in psoriatic keratinocytes in response to high extracellular Ca(2+) levels, associated with a downregulation of all TRPC channels investigated, including TRPC6 channels. As TRPC6 channel activation can partially overcome this Ca(2+) entry defect, specific TRPC channel activators may be potential new drug candidates for the topical treatment of psoriasis.
Project description:Psoriasis is a common, immune-mediated, genetic disorder of the skin associated with arthritis in approximately 30% of cases. Previously, we localized PSORS2 (psoriasis susceptibility locus 2) to chromosome 17q25.3-qter following a genome-wide linkage scan in a family of European origin with multiple cases of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Linkage to PSORS2 was also observed in a multiply affected psoriasis family from Taiwan. With genomic capture and DNA sequencing, we identified unique gain-of-function mutations in caspase recruitment domain family, member 14 (CARD14) that segregated with psoriasis. The mutations, c.349G>A (p.Gly117Ser) and c.349+5G>A respectively, altered splicing between exons 3 and 4 of CARD14. A de novo mutation in CARD14, c.413A>C [p.Glu138Ala], was detected in a child with sporadic, early-onset, generalized pustular psoriasis. CARD14 activates nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), and the p.Gly117Ser and p.Glu138Ala substitutions were shown to lead to enhanced NF-kB activation and upregulation of a subset of psoriasis-associated genes in keratinocytes compared to wildtype CARD14. These included chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 20 (CCL20) and interleukin 8 (IL8). CARD14 is localized mainly in the basal and suprabasal layers of healthy skin epidermis, while in lesional psoriatic skin it is reduced in the basal layer and more diffusely upregulated in the suprabasal layers of the lesional epidermis. We propose that, following a triggering event that can include epidermal injury, rare gain-of-function mutations in CARD14 initiate a process that includes inflammatory cell recruitment by keratinocytes. This perpetuates a vicious cycle of epidermal inflammation and regeneration that is the hallmark of psoriasis. No replicates are included. Three sample sets.  Skin biopsies had RNA extracted for expression within target tissue.  HEK cells were transfected with different constructs (including wildtype) of CARD14 to determine the mutational effect in keratinocytes.  Keratinocytes derived from psoriasis patients with CARD14 mutations were cultured and compared with and without stimulation with TNFalpha.