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J Invest Dermatol. 1995 Mar;104(3):405-10.

Loricrin expression is coordinated with other epidermal proteins and the appearance of lipid lamellar granules in development.

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Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030.


In mouse, epidermal development proceeds from a single basal cell layer covered by a specialized single cell layer called the periderm at E14 to a fully differentiated stratified squamous epithelium at E18. To determine when loricrin, a major cell envelope component, is expressed during development, we examined fetal skin from mice of gestational ages E13 through E19 and compared the temporal pattern of loricrin expression with that of other differentiation markers. We found that loricrin mRNA and protein were expressed by E16, following the expression of keratins K1 and K10 and preceding the expression of profilaggrin. Interestingly, both loricrin and profilaggrin were initially expressed focally in areas corresponding to more advanced morphologic stages of maturation. Because the cornified envelope is a composite structure consisting of both protein and lipid components, we also monitored the appearance of lipid lamellar granules during epidermal development. These granules were first evident at E16 and the extrusion of lipids from the granules into the intercellular space occurred at E17, prior to the cross linking of loricrin into the cell envelope. Our results document that loricrin is expressed and accumulates at the cell periphery subsequent to the extrusion of lipids, but prior to processing of profilaggrin. We suggest that the sequential regulation of these events is critical for formation of epidermal barrier function during development.

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