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J Biol Chem. 2003 Jan 17;278(3):1758-68. Epub 2002 Nov 4.

Identification of Dss1 as a 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-responsive gene expressed in keratinocyte progenitor cells, with possible involvement in early skin tumorigenesis.

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National Center for Toxicogenomics and the Laboratory of Signal Transduction, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


This study identifies genes expressed early in 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced skin carcinogenesis in genetically initiated Tg.AC v-Ha-ras transgenic mice. Keratinocyte progenitor cells from TPA-treated Tg.AC mice were isolated with fluorescence-activated cell sorting and expression was analyzed using cDNA microarray technology. Eleven genes were identified whose expression changed significantly in response to carcinogen treatment. Deleted in split hand/split foot 1 (Dss1) is a gene associated with a heterogeneous limb developmental disorder called split hand/split foot malformation. cDNA microarray expression analysis showed that the mouse homologue of Dss1 is induced by TPA. Dss1 overexpression was detected by Northern blot analysis in early TPA-treated hyperplastic skins and in JB6 Cl 41-5a epidermal cells. Interestingly, Dss1 expression was also shown to be elevated in skin papillomas relative to normal skins, and further increased in squamous cell malignancies. Functional studies by ectopically constitutive expression of Dss1 in JB6 Cl 41-5a preneoplastic cells strongly increased focus formation and proliferation of these cells and enhanced efficiency of neoplastic transformation of the cells in soft agar. These results strongly suggest that Dss1 is a TPA-inducible gene that may play an important role in the early stages of skin carcinogenesis.

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