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Exp Cell Res. 1994 Jan;210(1):71-6.

Thapsigargin raises intracellular free calcium levels in human keratinocytes and inhibits the coordinated expression of differentiation markers.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.


Thapsigargin raises intracellular free calcium ([Ca2+]i) by potently inhibiting the endoplasmic reticulum Ca-ATPase, which sequesters calcium from the cytosol. In human keratinocytes a rise in [Ca2+]i has been associated with differentiation and therefore we investigated the action of thapsigargin on this process. At concentrations above 3 nM thapsigargin inhibited keratinocyte proliferation. Thapsigargin induced an immediate transient [Ca2+]i rise in calcium-free or 70 microM calcium medium but a more prolonged rise in 2 mM calcium. For keratinocytes cultured in 70 microM calcium medium a late [Ca2+]i rise was also observed, after 6 h, similar to the effect of known differentiation stimuli. However, immunohistochemical techniques did not show any expression of the differentiation-specific protein involucrin, a component of the cornified envelope. When keratinocyte differentiation was induced by an increase in the extracellular calcium from 70 microM to 2 mM abundant involucrin and desmoplakin, a component of desmosomes, were synthesised. Both proteins gave staining patterns which suggested incorporation into structural proteins, but thapsigargin disrupted the calcium-induced pattern of involucrin and desmoplakin synthesis. Thapsigargin did not induce differentiation, possibly due to its inability to activate protein kinase C and raise inositol trisphosphate levels. We conclude that a rise in [Ca2+]i does not alone induce keratinocyte differentiation but may act with other intracellular signals to promote differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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