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Mol Cell Biol. 2008 May;28(10):3344-58. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01287-07. Epub 2008 Mar 10.

Transforming growth factor alpha (TGFalpha)-stimulated secretion of HSP90alpha: using the receptor LRP-1/CD91 to promote human skin cell migration against a TGFbeta-rich environment during wound healing.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, 1441 Eastlake Ave., Room 6320, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.

Erratum in

  • Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Jan;32(1):240.


Jump-starting and subsequently maintaining epidermal and dermal cell migration are essential processes for skin wound healing. These events are often disrupted in nonhealing wounds, causing patient morbidity and even fatality. Currently available treatments are unsatisfactory. To identify novel wound-healing targets, we investigated secreted molecules from transforming growth factor alpha (TGFalpha)-stimulated human keratinoytes, which contained strong motogenic, but not mitogenic, activity. Protein purification allowed us to identify the heat shock protein 90alpha (hsp90alpha) as the factor fully responsible for the motogenic activity in keratinocyte secretion. TGFalpha causes rapid membrane translocation and subsequent secretion of hsp90alpha via the unconventional exosome pathway in the cells. Secreted hsp90alpha promotes both epidermal and dermal cell migration through the surface receptor LRP-1 (LDL receptor-related protein 1)/CD91. The promotility activity resides in the middle domain plus the charged sequence of hsp90alpha but is independent of the ATPase activity. Neutralizing the extracellular function of hsp90alpha blocks TGFalpha-induced keratinicyte migration. Most intriguingly, unlike the effects of canonical growth factors, the hsp90alpha signaling overrides the inhibition of TGFbeta, an abundant inhibitor of dermal cell migration in skin wounds. This finding provides a long-sought answer to the question of how dermal cells migrate into the wound environment to build new connective tissues and blood vessels. Thus, secreted hsp90alpha is potentially a new agent for wound healing.

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