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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 8;276(23):20292-9. Epub 2001 Feb 16.

Refined characterization of corneodesmosin proteolysis during terminal differentiation of human epidermis and its relationship to desquamation.

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  • 1Department of Biology, INSERM Contrat Jeune Formation 96-02, Toulouse-Purpan School of Medicine, University of Toulouse III (Institut Fédératif de Recherche 30, INSERM-CNRS-Université P. Sabatier-Centre Hospitalier Universitaire), 31073 Toulouse, France.

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  • J Biol Chem 2001 Dec 14;276(50):47742-3.

Abstract

Corneodesmosin is a putative adhesion glycoprotein located in the extracellular part of the desmosomes in the upper layers of the epidermis. Synthesized by granular keratinocytes as a 52-56-kDa protein, corneodesmosin is progressively proteolysed during corneocyte maturation. This processing is a prerequisite for desquamation. Two glycine- and serine-rich domains of the protein might take on the conformation of adhesive secondary structures similar to glycine loops. Corneodesmosin proteolysis was further characterized. Deglycosylation experiments and reactivity with lectins demonstrated that the corneodesmosin carbohydrate moiety does not prevent the proteolysis. Immunoblotting, immunohistochemistry, and immunoelectron microscopy experiments using affinity-purified anti-peptide antibodies raised to four of the five structural domains of corneodesmosin and a monoclonal antibody against its fifth central domain showed that the first step in corneodesmosin processing is the cleavage of its extremities and probably occurs before its incorporation into desmosomes. Then the glycine loop-related domains are cleaved, first the N-terminal and then part of the C-terminal domain. At the epidermis surface, the multistep proteolytic cleavage leaves intact only the central domain, which was detected on exfoliated corneocytes and probably lacks adhesive properties. Importantly, corneodesmosin was demonstrated to be a preferred substrate of two serine proteases involved in desquamation, the stratum corneum tryptic and chymotryptic enzymes.

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