PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
The function of a new regulator of epidermal differentiation, HOP, and pathomechanisms underlying epidermolytic hyperkeratosis
Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
Service de Dermatologie et Vénéréologie, CHUV Beaumont 29 BT-04/419 10^11 Lausanne
Number of pages
The process of epidermal differentiation involves proliferation, differentiation, migration and maturation of keratinocytes to form an impermeable barrier against water loss and outside environment. It is controlled by highly balanced regulatory machinery, involving many molecules that are still under investigation.Homeobox proteins are involved in body patterning and morphogenesis of organs and are studied as potentially good candidates to regulate this process. In the first project we investigated the role of a protein named HOP which belongs to a group of homeobox proteins. Even if HOP is a small protein almost completely composed of the homeodomain and without DNA binding capacity, it is considered as transcriptional regulator in different tissues. HOP interacts with serum response factor (SRF) and histone deacetylase type 2 (HDAC2). By microarray analysis we found that HOP expression increases in cultured human primary keratinocytes (NHK) which undergo calcium-induced differentiation. HOP protein was localized in granular layer of the epidermis of healthy individuals. Lack of HOP was demonstrated in psoriatic lesions, whereas a strong expression was demonstrated in the lesional skin of patients affected with lichen planus (LP). Since LP is characterized by hypergranulosis while psoriatic lesions by progressive lack of the granular layer, the obtained data indicated that HOP might have a potential function in granular layer of epidermis. To investigate HOP function, we inhibited its expression by using HOP specific StealthRNAi and we overexpressed HOP using lentiviral vectors in differentiating NHK. The conclusion of both experiments indicated that HOP positively regulates the expression of late differentiation markers, such as profilaggrin, loricrin and transglutaminase 1. The in vitro data were next confirmed in vivo using HOP knockout mouse model.The second part of my study involved analysis of mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of epidermolytic hyperkeratosis (EHK). EHK is a genetic disorder characterized by erythema, skin blistering, keratinocyte hyperproliferation and hyperkeratosis. EHK is caused by mutations in keratin 1 or 10 (K1, K10) which are major structural proteins of differentiated keratinocytes and participate in the cellular scaffold formation. To investigate how the structural proteins carrying mutations alter cellular signaling, we established an in vitro model for EHK by overexpression of one of the most common K10 mutations reported so far (K10R156H), in primary human keratinocytes. In order to mimic the in vivo situation, mutated keratinocytes growing on silicone membranes were subjected to mechanical stretch. We observed strong collapse of KIF in K10R156H keratinocytes when subjected to stretch for 30 minutes. Our data demonstrated stronger activation of p38, a member of MAPK stress signaling pathways, in K10R156H when compared to control cells. We demonstrated also that K10R156H keratinocytes showed an induction of TNF-α and RANTES release in response to stretch.Taken together these studies characterize a novel regulator of epidermal differentiation - HOP and demonstrate new aspects implicated in the pathogenesis of EHK.
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