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Mech Dev. 2003 Jun;120(6):733-44.

Overexpression of the calcium sensing receptor accelerates epidermal differentiation and permeability barrier formation in vivo.

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Ottawa Health Research Institute, 725 Parkdale Ave., Ontario, K1Y 4E9 Ottawa, Canada.


The calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) has emerged as an important mediator of a wide range of Ca(2+)-dependent physiological responses (Ca(2+) signaling) in various tissues. To explore the role of CaSR in the epidermis, we utilised the keratin 14 promoter to express CaSR cDNA constitutively in the basal cells of the stratified squamous epithelium of transgenic mice. Analysis of the transgenic mice revealed that a sensitized response to CaSR signaling accelerates the epidermal differentiation program with the precocious formation of the epidermal permeability barrier (EPB) during development and an accelerated hair growth at birth. Our observations indicate that overexpression of CaSR in the undifferentiated basal cells leads to changes in the differentiation program of the transgenic epidermis, including the stimulation of keratins 1 and 6 as well as the overexpression of several markers of terminal differentiation such as filaggrin, loricrin and involucrin. Our data suggest that the observed modifications in the differentiation pathway are a consequence of a CaSR-induced enhancement of Ca(2+) signaling involving cross-talk with other signaling pathways (e.g. EGF and Wnt/Ca(2+)). These studies provide new insights into the role of CaSR in epidermal differentiation including EPB development and hair follicle morphogenesis.

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