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J Cell Physiol. 1995 Apr;163(1):105-14.

Chelation of intracellular Ca2+ inhibits murine keratinocyte differentiation in vitro.

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Laboratory of Cellular Carcinogenesis and Tumor Promotion, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


The role of intracellular Ca2+ in the regulation of Ca(2+)-induced terminal differentiation of mouse keratinocytes was investigated using the intracellular Ca2+ chelator 1,2-bis(o-aminophenoxy)-ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid (BAPTA). A cell permeable acetoxymethyl (AM) ester derivative BAPTA (BAPTA/AM) was loaded into primary mouse keratinocytes in 0.05 mM Ca2+ medium, and then the cells were induced to differentiate by medium containing 0.12 or 0.5 mM Ca(2+) Intracellular BAPTA loaded by BAPTA/AM (15-30 microM) inhibited the expression of epidermal differentiation-specific proteins keratin 1 (K1), keratin 10 (K10), filaggrin and loricrin as detected by immunoblotting. The differentiation-associated redistribution of E-cadherin on the cell membrane was delayed but not inhibited as determined by immunofluorescence. BAPTA also inhibited the expression of K1, K10 and loricrin mRNA. Furthermore, BAPTA prevented the decrease in DNA synthesis induced by 0.12 and 0.5 mM Ca2+, indicating the drug was inhibiting differentiation but was not toxic to keratinocytes. To evaluate the influence of BAPTA on intracellular Ca2+, the concentration of intracellular free Ca2+ (Cai) in BAPTA-loaded keratinocytes was examined by digital image analysis using the Ca(2+)-sensitive fluorescent probe fura-2, and Ca2+ influx was measured by 45Ca2+ uptake studies. Increase in extracellular Ca2+ (Cao) in the culture medium of keratinocytes caused a sustained increase in both Cai and Ca2+ localized to ionomycin-sensitive intracellular stores in keratinocytes. BAPTA lowered basal Cai concentration and prevented the Cai increase. After 12 hours of BAPTA treatment, the basal level of Cai returned to the control value, but the Ca2+ localized in intracellular stores was substantially decreased. 45Ca2+ uptake was initially (within 30 min) increased in BAPTA-loaded cells. However, the total 45Ca2+ accumulation over 24 hours in BAPTA-loaded cells remained unchanged from control values. These results indicate that keratinocytes can maintain Cai and total cellular Ca2+ content in the presence of increased amount of intracellular Ca2+ buffer (e.g., BAPTA) by depleting intracellular Ca2+ stores over a long period. The inhibition by BAPTA of keratinocyte differentiation marker expression may result from depletion of the Ca(2+)-stores since this is the major change in intracellular Ca2+ detected at the time keratinocytes express the differentiation markers. In contrast, the redistribution of E-cadherin on the cell membrane may be more directly associated with Cai change.

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