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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 8;276(23):20428-35. Epub 2001 Mar 21.

Epidermal growth factor activates hyaluronan synthase 2 in epidermal keratinocytes and increases pericellular and intracellular hyaluronan.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Kuopio, FIN-70211 Kuopio, Finland.


Hyaluronan is an abundant and rapidly turned over matrix molecule between the vital cell layers of the epidermis. In this study, epidermal growth factor (EGF) induced a coat of hyaluronan and a 3-5-fold increase in its rate of synthesis in a rat epidermal keratinocyte cell line that has retained its ability for differentiation. EGF also increased hyaluronan in perinuclear vesicles, suggesting concurrent enhancement in its endocytosis. Cell-associated hyaluronan was most abundant in elongated cells that were stimulated to migrate by EGF, as determined in vitro in a wound healing assay. Large fluctuations in the pool size of UDP-N-acetylglucosamine, the metabolic precursor of hyaluronan, correlated with medium glucose concentrations but not with EGF. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) showed no increase in hyaluronan synthases 1 and 3 (Has1 and Has3), whereas Has2 mRNA increased 2-3-fold in less than 2 h following the introduction of EGF, as estimated by quantitative RT-PCR with a truncated Has2 mRNA internal standard. The average level of Has2 mRNA increased from approximately 6 copies/cell in cultures before change of fresh medium, up to approximately 54 copies/cell after 6 h in EGF-containing medium. A control medium with 10% serum caused a maximum level of approximately 21 copies/cell at 6 h. The change in the Has2 mRNA levels and the stimulation of hyaluronan synthesis followed a similar temporal pattern, reaching a maximum level at 6 h and declining toward 24 h, a finding in line with a predominantly Has2-dependent hyaluronan synthesis and its transcriptional regulation.

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