The expression of desmoglein isoforms in cultured human keratinocytes is regulated by calcium, serum, and protein kinase C

Mitchell F. Denning, Sandra G. Guy, Shawn M. Ellerbroek, Suzanne M. Norvell, Andrew P. Kowalczyk, Kathleen J. Green

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73 Scopus citations


Three desmoglein (Dsg) isoforms are expressed in a differentiation- specific fashion in the epidermis, with Dsg2 being basal, Dsg3 (pemphigus vulgaris antigen) basal and spinous, and Dsg1 (pemphigus foliaceus antigen) predominately granular. To better understand the mechanism(s) regulating Dsg isoform expression, we examined the expression pattern of Dsg1, Dsg2, and Dsg3 in normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEKs), the immortalized, nontumorigenic HaCaT cell line, and several squamous cell carcinoma cell lines (SCC-9, SCC-12F, SCC-13, and SCC-25). In all cells, the accumulation of high Dsg protein levels required calcium and was not observed in low calcium (0.050.07 mM) media. NHEKs expressed Dsg1 in all media tested, consistent with their normal differentiation capacity. HaCaT and SCC-25 also expressed Dsg1; however, the presence of serum in the media dramatically decreased Dsg1 protein levels. Serum also inhibited Dsg1 mRNA levels in HaCaT cells. Dsg1 was not detected in extracts from SCC-9, SCC-12F, and SCC-13 under any conditions. Since activation of protein kinase C (PKC) is involved in keratinocyte differentiation, we evaluated the effects of PKC down-regulation on Dsg isoform expression. Long-term treatment with either the phorbol ester 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) or bryostatin I inhibited levels of Dsg1 and Dsg3, but not Dsg2 in NHEKs and HaCaT cells. Chronic TPA also decreased Dsg1 and Dsg3 mRNA levels in NHEKs, further supporting a role for PKC activation in the expression of the suprabasal Dsg1 and Dsg3. These results identify several regulatory mechanisms by which the differentiation- specific pattern of desmosomal cadherins is established in the epidermis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 25 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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