IKK? regulates the stratification and differentiation of the epidermis: implications for skin cancer development.
ABSTRACT: IKK? plays a mandatory role in keratinocyte differentiation and exerts an important task in non-melanoma skin cancer development. However, it is not fully understood how IKK? exerts these functions. To analyze in detail the role of IKK? in epidermal stratification and differentiation, we have generated tridimensional (3D) cultures of human HaCaT keratinocytes and fibroblasts in fibrin gels, obtaining human skin equivalents that comprise an epidermal and a dermal compartments that resembles both the structure and differentiation of normal human skin. We have found that IKK? expression must be strictly regulated in epidermis, as alterations in its levels lead to histological defects and promote the development of malignant features. Specifically, we have found that the augmented expression of IKK? results in increased proliferation and clonogenicity of human keratinocytes, and leads to an accelerated and altered differentiation, augmented ability of invasive growth, induction of the expression of oncogenic proteins (Podoplanin, Snail, Cyclin D1) and increased extracellular matrix proteolytic activity. All these characteristics make keratinocytes overexpressing IKK? to be at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Comparison of genetic profile obtained by analysis of microarrays of RNA of skin equivalents from both genotypes supports the above described findings.
Project description:Inhibitor of nuclear factor ?B kinase-? (IKK?) is required for maintaining skin homeostasis and preventing skin tumorigenesis. However, its signaling has not been extensively investigated. In the present study, we generated two mouse lines that expressed different levels of transgenic IKK? in the basal epidermis under the control of keratin-5 promoter and further evaluated their effects on the major pathways of inflammation, proliferation, and differentiation in the skin. Regardless of the transgenic IKK? levels, the mice develop normally. Because IKK? deletion in keratinocytes blocks terminal differentiation and induces epidermal hyperplasia and skin inflammation, we depleted the endogenous IKK? in these transgenic mice and found that the transgenic IKK? represses epidermal thickness and induces terminal differentiation in a dose-dependent manner. Also, transgenic IKK? was found to elevate expression of Max dimer protein 1 (Mad1) and ovo-like 1, c-Myc antagonists, but repress activities of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), Jun-amino-terminal kinases, c-Jun, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3), and growth factor levels in a dose-dependent fashion in the skin. Moreover, EGFR reduction represses IKK? deletion-induced excessive ERK, Stat3 and c-Jun activities, and skin inflammation. These new findings indicate that elevated IKK? expression not only represses epidermal thickness and induces terminal differentiation, but also suppresses skin inflammation by an integrated loop. Thus, IKK? maintains skin homeostasis through a broad range of signaling pathways.
Project description:The strong societal urge to reduce the use of experimental animals, and the biological differences between rodent and human skin, have led to the development of alternative models for healthy and diseased human skin. However, the limited availability of primary keratinocytes to generate such models hampers large-scale implementation of skin models in biomedical, toxicological, and pharmaceutical research. Immortalized cell lines may overcome these issues, however, few immortalized human keratinocyte cell lines are available and most do not form a fully stratified epithelium. In this study we compared two immortalized keratinocyte cell lines (N/TERT1, N/TERT2G) to human primary keratinocytes based on epidermal differentiation, response to inflammatory mediators, and the development of normal and inflammatory human epidermal equivalents (HEEs). Stratum corneum permeability, epidermal morphology, and expression of epidermal differentiation and host defence genes and proteins in N/TERT-HEE cultures was similar to that of primary human keratinocytes. We successfully generated N/TERT-HEEs with psoriasis or atopic dermatitis features and validated these models for drug-screening purposes. We conclude that the N/TERT keratinocyte cell lines are useful substitutes for primary human keratinocytes thereby providing a biologically relevant, unlimited cell source for in vitro studies on epidermal biology, inflammatory skin disease pathogenesis and therapeutics.
Project description:SVEP1 is a recently identified multidomain cell adhesion protein, homologous to the mouse polydom protein, which has been shown to mediate cell-cell adhesion in an integrin-dependent manner in osteogenic cells. In this study, we characterized SVEP1 function in the epidermis. SVEP1 was found by qRT-PCR to be ubiquitously expressed in human tissues, including the skin. Confocal microscopy revealed that SVEP1 is normally mostly expressed in the cytoplasm of basal and suprabasal epidermal cells. Downregulation of SVEP1 expression in primary keratinocytes resulted in decreased expression of major epidermal differentiation markers. Similarly, SVEP1 downregulation was associated with disturbed differentiation and marked epidermal acanthosis in three-dimensional skin equivalents. In contrast, the dispase assay failed to demonstrate significant differences in adhesion between keratinocytes expressing normal vs low levels of SVEP1. Homozygous Svep1 knockout mice were embryonic lethal. Thus, to assess the importance of SVEP1 for normal skin homoeostasis in vivo, we downregulated SVEP1 in zebrafish embryos with a Svep1-specific splice morpholino. Scanning electron microscopy revealed a rugged epidermis with perturbed microridge formation in the centre of the keratinocytes of morphant larvae. Transmission electron microscopy analysis demonstrated abnormal epidermal cell-cell adhesion with disadhesion between cells in Svep1-deficient morphant larvae compared to controls. In summary, our results indicate that SVEP1 plays a critical role during epidermal differentiation.
Project description:The outer epidermal skin is a primary barrier that protects the body from extrinsic factors, such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation, chemicals and pollutants. The complete epithelialization of a wound by keratinocytes is essential for restoring the barrier function of the skin. However, age-related alterations predispose the elderly to impaired wound healing. Therefore, wound-healing efficacy could be also considered as a potent function of an anti-aging reagent. Here, we examine the epidermal wound-healing efficacy of the fourth-generation retinoid, seletinoid G, using HaCaT keratinocytes and skin tissues. We found that seletinoid G promoted the proliferation and migration of keratinocytes in scratch assays and time-lapse imaging. It also increased the gene expression levels of several keratinocyte proliferation-regulating factors. In human skin equivalents, seletinoid G accelerated epidermal wound closure, as assessed using optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging. Moreover, second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging revealed that seletinoid G recovered the reduced dermal collagen deposition seen in ultraviolet B (UVB)-irradiated human skin equivalents. Taken together, these results indicate that seletinoid G protects the skin barrier by accelerating wound healing in the epidermis and by repairing collagen deficiency in the dermis. Thus, seletinoid G could be a potent anti-aging agent for protecting the skin barrier.
Project description:The current utility of 3D skin equivalents is limited by the fact that existing models fail to recapitulate the cellular complexity of human skin. They often contain few cell types and no appendages, in part because many cells found in the skin are difficult to isolate from intact tissue and cannot be expanded in culture. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) present an avenue by which we can overcome this issue due to their ability to be differentiated into multiple cell types in the body and their unlimited growth potential. We previously reported generation of the first human 3D skin equivalents from iPSC-derived fibroblasts and iPSC-derived keratinocytes, demonstrating that iPSCs can provide a foundation for modeling a complex human organ such as skin. Here, we have increased the complexity of this model by including additional iPSC-derived melanocytes. Epidermal melanocytes, which are largely responsible for skin pigmentation, represent the second most numerous cell type found in normal human epidermis and as such represent a logical next addition. We report efficient melanin production from iPSC-derived melanocytes and transfer within an entirely iPSC-derived epidermal-melanin unit and generation of the first functional human 3D skin equivalents made from iPSC-derived fibroblasts, keratinocytes and melanocytes.
Project description:Advances in bio-mimetic in vitro human skin models increase the efficiency of drug screening studies. In this study, we designed and developed a microfluidic platform that allows for long-term maintenance of full thickness human skin equivalents (HSE) which are comprised of both the epidermal and dermal compartments. The design is based on the physiologically relevant blood residence times in human skin tissue and allows for the establishment of an air-epidermal interface which is crucial for maturation and terminal differentiation of HSEs. The small scale of the design reduces the amount of culture medium and the number of cells required by 36 fold compared to conventional transwell cultures. Our HSE-on-a-chip platform has the capability to recirculate the medium at desired flow rates without the need for pump or external tube connections. We demonstrate that the platform can be used to maintain HSEs for three weeks with proliferating keratinocytes similar to conventional HSE cultures. Immunohistochemistry analyses show that the differentiation and localization of keratinocytes was successfully achieved, establishing all sub-layers of the epidermis after one week. Basal keratinocytes located at the epidermal-dermal interface remain in a proliferative state for three weeks. We use a transdermal transport model to show that the skin barrier function is maintained for three weeks. We also validate the capability of the HSE-on-a-chip platform to be used for drug testing purposes by examining the toxic effects of doxorubucin on skin cells and structure. Overall, the HSE-on-a-chip is a user-friendly and cost-effective in vitro platform for drug testing of candidate molecules for skin disorders.
Project description:p53 and p63 share extensive sequence and structure homology. p53 is frequently mutated in cancer, whereas mutations in p63 cause developmental disorders manifested in ectodermal dysplasia, limb defects, and orofacial clefting. We have established primary adult skin keratinocytes from ectrodactyly, ectodermal dysplasia, and cleft lip/palate (EEC) syndrome patients with p63 mutations as an in vitro human model to study the disease mechanism in the skin of EEC patients. We show that these patient keratinocytes cultured either in submerged 2D cultures or in 3D skin equivalents have impaired epidermal differentiation and stratification. Treatment of these patient keratinocytes with the mutant p53-targeting compound APR-246/PRIMA-1(MET) (p53 reactivation and induction of massive apoptosis) that has been successfully tested in a phase I/II clinical trial in cancer patients partially but consistently rescued morphological features and gene expression during epidermal stratification in both 2D and 3D models. This rescue coincides with restoration of p63 target-gene expression. Our data show that EEC patient keratinocytes with p63 mutations can be used for characterization of the abnormal molecular circuitry in patient skin and may open possibilities for the design of novel pharmacological treatment strategies for patients with mutant p63-associated developmental abnormalities.
Project description:Growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) belongs to the TGF-? superfamily of proteins and is closely related to myostatin. Recent findings show that GDF11 has rejuvenating properties with pronounced effects on the cardiovascular system, brain, skeletal muscle, and skeleton in mice. Several human studies were also conducted, some implicating decreasing levels of circulating GDF11 with age. To date, however, there have not been any reports on its role in human skin. This study examined the impact of GDF11 on human skin, specifically related to skin aging. The effect of recombinant GDF11 on the function of various skin cells was examined in human epidermal keratinocytes, dermal fibroblasts, melanocytes, dermal microvascular endothelial cells and 3D skin equivalents, as well as in ex vivo human skin explants. GDF11 had significant effects on the production of dermal matrix components in multiple skin models in vitro and ex vivo. In addition, it had a pronounced effect on expression of multiple skin related genes in full thickness 3D skin equivalents. This work, for the first time, demonstrates an important role for GDF11 in skin biology and a potential impact on skin health and aging.
Project description:Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have an unlimited proliferative capacity and extensive differentiation capability. They are an alternative source for regenerative therapies with a potential role in the treatment of several human diseases. The clinical use of ESCs, however, has significant ethical and biological obstacles related to their derivation from embryos and potential for immunological rejection, respectively. These disadvantages can be circumvented by the alternative use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are generated from an individual's (autologous) somatic cells by exogenous expression of defined transcription factors and have biological characteristics similar to ESCs. In recent years, patient-specific iPSCs have been generated to study disease mechanisms and develop iPSC-based therapies. The development of iPSC-based therapies for skin diseases requires successful differentiation of iPSCs into cellular components of the skin, including epidermal keratinocytes. Here, we succeeded in generating iPSCs not only from normal human fibroblasts but also from fibroblasts isolated from the skin of two patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. Moreover, we differentiated both of these iPSCs into keratinocytes with high efficiency, and generated 3D skin equivalents using iPSC-derived keratinocytes, suggesting that they were fully functional. Our studies indicate that autologous iPSCs have the potential to provide a source of cells for regenerative therapies for specific skin diseases.
Project description:Disrupted skin barrier due to altered keratinocyte differentiation is common in pathologic conditions such as atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis and psoriasis. However, the molecular cascades governing keratinocyte terminal differentiation are poorly understood. We have previously demonstrated that a dominant mutation in ZNF750 leads to a clinical phenotype reminiscent of psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Here we show that ZNF750 is a nuclear protein bearing a functional C-terminal nuclear localization signal. ZNF750 was specifically expressed in the epidermal suprabasal layers and its expression was augmented during differentiation, both in human skin and in-vitro, peaking in the granular layer. Silencing of ZNF750 in Ca2+-induced HaCaT keratinocytes led to morphologically apparent arrest in the progression of late differentiation, as well as diminished apoptosis and sustained proliferation. ZNF750 knockdown cells presented with markedly reduced expression of epidermal late differentiation markers, including gene subsets of epidermal differentiation complex and skin barrier formation such as FLG, LOR, SPINK5, ALOX12B and DSG1, known to be mutated in various human skin diseases. Furthermore, overexpression of ZNF750 in undifferentiated cells induced terminal differentiation genes. Thus, ZNF750 is a regulator of keratinocyte terminal differentiation and with its downstream targets can serve in future elucidation of therapeutics for common diseases of skin barrier.