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Mol Carcinog. 1997 Jan;18(1):44-53.

Definition by specific antisense oligonucleotides of a role for protein kinase C alpha in expression of differentiation markers in normal and neoplastic mouse epidermal keratinocytes.

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Laboratory of Cellular Carcinogenesis and Tumor Promotion, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4255, USA.


Epidermal keratinocyte differentiation is a tightly regulated, stepwise process that requires protein kinase C (PKC) activation. Studies using cultured mouse keratinocytes induced to differentiate with Ca2+ have indirectly implicated the alpha isoform of PKC in upregulation of "late" (granular cell) epidermal differentiation markers. Activation of this isoform is also implicated in the suppression of "early" differentiation markers keratin (K) 1 and 10 that characterizes the neoplastic phenotype produced by the v-Ha-ras oncogene. We used antisense oligonucleotides (AS) to directly address the role of PKC alpha in regulating expression of these markers in normal and v-Ha-ras-transduced primary keratinocytes and a keratinocyte cell line (SP-1) containing an activating mutation of the c-Ha-ras gene. Transfection of PKC alpha AS reduced the PKC alpha protein level in a dose-dependent manner, with a maximum effect at doses of 100 nM or higher. Immunoblot analysis with antibodies against PKC alpha, PKC delta, PKC epsilon, and PKC eta confirmed that PKC alpha AS selectively reduced the level of PKC alpha but not the other isoforms. In vitro kinase assays also revealed suppression of Ca(2+)-dependent PKC activity, which is the PKC alpha activity in this cell type, after transfection of PKC alpha AS. When PKC alpha AS-treated normal keratinocytes were stimulated to terminally differentiate with Ca2+, induction of the late differentiation markers loricrin, filaggrin, and SPR-1, as well as transglutaminase K mRNA, was suppressed when compared with their induction in scrambled AS-treated controls. In neoplastic v-Ha-ras-transduced keratinocytes and SP-1 cells, transfection of PKC alpha AS, but not the scrambled AS control, selectively downregulated PKC alpha and restored differentiation-specific expression of K1. These findings directly confirm that PKC alpha is an important component of the signaling pathway regulating terminal differentiation of normal keratinocytes and that activation of PKC alpha contributes to the altered differentiation program of neoplastic murine keratinocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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