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J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 1999 Sep;4(2):137-44.

Transmembrane signaling for adhesive regulation of desmosomes and hemidesmosomes, and for cell-cell datachment induced by pemphigus IgG in cultured keratinocytes: involvement of protein kinase C.

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Department of Dermatology, Gifu University School of Medicine, Gifu City, Japan.


We have investigated transmembrane signaling for the regulation of desmosomes and hemidesmosomes, using a human squamous cell carcinoma cell line (DJM-1) and normal human keratinocytes. This review discusses the involvement of protein kinase C (PKC) in regulation of these junctions, and signaling pathways involved in cell-cell detachment induced by pemphigus vulgaris (PV) IgG in a culture system. Cells grown in low-Ca++ conditions, which lack desmosomes, rapidly form desmosomes upon a low-normal Ca++-shift in association with PKC-activation and, in turn, PKC-activation by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) induces desmosome formation even in low-Ca++ conditions. TPA induces serine-phosphorylation of the 180 kDa-bullous pemphigoid antigen (BPAG2), generating 190 kDa-phosphorylated BPAG2, and dissociates BPAG2 from hemidesmosomes. TPA-treatment also causes secretion of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and expression of its receptor (uPAR), which activates plasminogen to plasmin and may digest extracellular domains of desmosomes and hemidesmosomes. These results suggest that PKC may play a role in activation of desmosome turnover and dysfunction of hemidesmossomes, and thus a role in up-migration of keratinocytes. Binding of PV-IgG to Dsg3 induces activation of diverse isoenzymes of PKC, linked to uPA secretion and uPAR expression. Furthermore, PV-IgG binding alone induces the serine-phosphorylation of Dsg 3, associated with its dissociation from plakoglobin and its deletion from desmosomes. This PV-IgG-induced Dsg 3-phosphorylation and Dsg 3-deletion from desmosomes may impair desmosome formation, whereas PV-IgG-induced PKC signaling mediates the uPA secretion and uPAR expression leading to digestion of preexisting desmosomes from the outside of the cell. These two different PV-IgG-activated signaling pathways may play a key role in acantholysis in PV.

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