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Differentiation. 1984;26(2):144-53.

The keratin polypeptide patterns in heterotypically recombined epithelia of skin and mucosa of adult mouse.


Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions were investigated considering both morphologic criteria and keratin polypeptide expression in homotypic and heterotypic recombinants of adult mouse skin and oral mucosa. Two series of cross-recombinants of epithelia with different morphology and keratin patterns were chosen: (a) footpad epidermis/ear dermis and ear epidermis/footpad dermis; (b) palate epithelium/cheek connective tissue and cheek epithelium/palate connective tissue. Homotypic and heterotypic recombinants were prepared after EDTA-separation of the original tissues and then grown on syngeneic mice in subcutaneously prepared protected graft chambers. EDTA-separation is especially suited to completely separate the epidermal-dermal union, and the transplantation procedure used strictly prevents contamination with host epithelium. Five weeks after implantation keratins were analyzed by one and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and peptide mapping. In both series, homotypic recombination of the tissues did not alter the original morphology and keratin polypeptide composition of the individual epithelial components. Ear epidermis displayed no significant changes in structure or keratin pattern in heterotypic recombinants. Recombined with ear dermis, footpad epidermis showed acquisition of some morphologic features typical for ear epidermis and slight changes in keratin composition which were, however, difficult to interpret due to the normal similarities of footpad keratin with that of ear. In contrast, the heterorecombinants of the palate/cheek series exhibited considerable alterations in their keratin patterns. Either epithelium showed suppression of distinct keratin subunits and de novo expression of subunits characteristic of the epithelium normally associated with the connective tissue component. The keratin patterns of both matches closely resembled each other and represented patterns intermediate between the normal patterns. This partial, however, significant modulation in the expression of differentiation markers was paralleled by similarly directed changes in the architecture of the heterotransplanted tissues, thus indicating that both morphogenesis and cytodifferentiation of certain adult epithelia can be influenced by extrinsic mesenchymal factors.

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