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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Sep 26;92(20):9151-5.

Evidence for the presence of a protease-activated receptor distinct from the thrombin receptor in human keratinocytes.

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  • 1R. W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Spring House, PA 19477, USA.


Thrombin receptor activation was explored in human epidermal keratinocytes and human dermal fibroblasts, cells that are actively involved in skin tissue repair. The effects of thrombin, trypsin, and the receptor agonist peptides SFLLRN and TFRIFD were assessed in inositolphospholipid hydrolysis and calcium mobilization studies. Thrombin and SFLLRN stimulated fibroblasts in both assays to a similar extent, whereas TFRIFD was less potent. Trypsin demonstrated weak efficacy in these assays in comparison with thrombin. Results in fibroblasts were consistent with human platelet thrombin receptor activation. Keratinocytes, however, exhibited a distinct profile, with trypsin being a far better activator of inositolphospholipid hydrolysis and calcium mobilization than thrombin. Furthermore, SFLLRN was more efficacious than thrombin, whereas no response was observed with TFRIFD. Since our data indicated that keratinocytes possess a trypsin-sensitive receptor, we addressed the possibility that these cells express the human homologue of the newly described murine protease-activated receptor, PAR-2 [Nystedt, S., Emilsson, K., Wahlestedt, C. & Sundelin, J. (1994) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91, 9208-9212]. PAR-2 is activated by nanomolar concentrations of trypsin and possesses the tethered ligand sequence SLIGRL. SLIGRL was found to be equipotent with SFLLRN in activating keratinocyte inositolphospholipid hydrolysis and calcium mobilization. Desensitization studies indicated that SFLLRN, SLIGRL, and trypsin activate a common receptor, PAR-2. Northern blot analyses detected a transcript of PAR-2 in total RNA from keratinocytes but not fibroblasts. Levels of thrombin receptor message were equivalent in the two cell types. Our results indicate that human keratinocytes possess PAR-2, suggesting a potential role for this receptor in tissue repair and/or skin-related disorders.

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