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J Biol Chem. 2001 Nov 2;276(44):41079-85. Epub 2001 Aug 10.

The extracellular calcium-sensing receptor is required for calcium-induced differentiation in human keratinocytes.

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Endocrine Unit, Veteran Affairs Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco, California 94121, USA.


In cultured keratinocytes, the acute increase of the extracellular calcium concentration above 0.03 mM leads to a rapid increase in intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca(2+)]i) and inositol trisphosphate production and, subsequently, to the expression of differentiation-related genes. Previous studies demonstrated that human keratinocytes express the full-length extracellular calcium-sensing receptor (CaR) and an alternatively spliced variant lacking exon 5 and suggested their involvement in calcium regulation of keratinocyte differentiation. To understand the role of the CaR, we transfected keratinocytes with an antisense human CaR cDNA construct and examined its impact on calcium signaling and calcium-induced differentiation. The antisense CaR cDNA significantly reduced the protein level of endogenous CaRs. These cells displayed a marked reduction in the rise in [Ca(2+)]i in response to extracellular calcium or to NPS R-467, a CaR activator, whereas the ATP-evoked rise in [Ca(2+)]i was not affected. Calcium-induced inhibition of cell proliferation and calcium-stimulated expression of the differentiation markers involucrin and transglutaminase were also blocked by the antisense CaR cDNA. When cotransfected with luciferase reporter vectors containing either the involucrin or transglutaminase promoter, the antisense CaR cDNA suppressed the calcium-stimulated promoter activities. These results indicate that CaR is required for mediating calcium signaling and calcium-induced differentiation in keratinocytes.

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