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J Cell Physiol. 2000 Feb;182(2):281-9.

Evidence for intracellular cleavage of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2 (PAI-2) in normal epidermal keratinocytes.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6142, USA.


Plasminogen activator inhibitor type 2 (PAI-2) is a serine proteinase inhibitor (serpin), present in high quantities in stratified squamous epithelia. Detergent extracts of human epidermis or cultured keratinocytes contain primarily active, nonglycosylated PAI-2. In keratinocytes, the vast majority of PAI-2 is retained within the cell, supporting the hypothesis that PAI-2 may serve specific intracellular function(s) through interaction with an unknown cytoplasmic proteinase. During interaction with the target proteinase, cleavage of PAI-2 within its reactive site loop leads to the formation of a more stable, "relaxed" conformation (PAI-2r). Using a monoclonal antibody specific for PAI-2r, we demonstrate here that PAI-2r is present in keratinocytes of the granular and basal layers of normal human epidermis. In addition, PAI-2r is detectable in cultured human epidermal keratinocytes, where it is concentrated in a detergent-insoluble fraction within differentiating cells. These data provide evidence for the presence of an endogenous, keratinocyte-derived proteinase that constitutively cleaves intracellular PAI-2 in normal human epidermal keratinocytes. Cleavage of PAI-2 by this proteinase may reflect specific intracellular action of PAI-2 in normal cells. Finally, we demonstrate that a commercially available anti-PAI-2 monoclonal antibody (#3750, American Diagnostica, Greenwich, CT), under native experimental conditions, preferentially recognizes the uncleaved, active form of PAI-2 and does not efficiently detect PAI-2r.

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