Matricellular proteins as modulators of cell-matrix interactions: adhesive defect in thrombospondin 2-null fibroblasts is a consequence of increased levels of matrix metalloproteinase-2.
Thrombospondin 2 (TSP2)-null mice, generated by disruption of the Thbs2 gene, display a variety of connective tissue abnormalities, including fragile skin and the presence of abnormally large collagen fibrils with irregular contours in skin and tendon. In this study we demonstrate that TSP2-null skin fibroblasts show a defect in attachment to a number of matrix proteins, and a reduction in cell spreading. To investigate the molecular mechanisms responsible for these abnormal cell-matrix interactions, we compared the levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in wild-type and mutant fibroblasts. Isolation and analysis of gelatinases from conditioned media by gelatin-agarose affinity chromatography and gelatinolytic assays demonstrated that TSP2-null fibroblasts produce a 2-fold increase in gelatinase A (MMP2) compared with wild-type cells. The adhesive defect was corrected by treatment of TSP2-null fibroblasts with soluble TSP2, with the MMP inhibitors BB94 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2, and with a neutralizing antibody to MMP2. Moreover, stable transfection of TSP2-null fibroblasts with mouse TSP2 cDNA corrected both the adhesive defect and the altered expression of MMP2. Finally, MMP2 was shown to interact with TSP2 in a direct-binding plate assay. We conclude that TSP2 plays an important role in cell-matrix interactions, and that a deficiency in the protein results in increased levels of MMP2 that contribute to the adhesive defect in TSP2-null fibroblasts and could play a role in the complex phenotype of TSP2-null mice. (+info)
Targeted ablation of the murine involucrin gene.
Involucrin is synthesized in abundance during terminal differentiation of keratinocytes. Involucrin is a substrate for transglutaminase and one of the precursors of the cross-linked envelopes present in the corneocytes of the epidermis and other stratified squamous epithelia. These envelopes make an important contribution to the physical resistance of the epidermis. We have generated mice lacking involucrin from embryonic stem cells whose involucrin gene had been ablated by homologous recombination. These mice developed normally, possessed apparently normal epidermis and hair follicles, and made cornified envelopes that could not be distinguished from those of wild-type mice. No compensatory increase of mRNA for other envelope precursors was observed. (+info)
Lessons from loricrin-deficient mice: compensatory mechanisms maintaining skin barrier function in the absence of a major cornified envelope protein.
The epidermal cornified cell envelope (CE) is a complex protein-lipid composite that replaces the plasma membrane of terminally differentiated keratinocytes. This lamellar structure is essential for the barrier function of the skin and has the ability to prevent the loss of water and ions and to protect from environmental hazards. The major protein of the epidermal CE is loricrin, contributing approximately 70% by mass. We have generated mice that are deficient for this protein. These mice showed a delay in the formation of the skin barrier in embryonic development. At birth, homozygous mutant mice weighed less than control littermates and showed skin abnormalities, such as congenital erythroderma with a shiny, translucent skin. Tape stripping experiments suggested that the stratum corneum stability was reduced in newborn Lor(-/-) mice compared with wild-type controls. Isolated mutant CEs were more easily fragmented by sonication in vitro, indicating a greater susceptibility to mechanical stress. Nevertheless, we did not detect impaired epidermal barrier function in these mice. Surprisingly, the skin phenotype disappeared 4-5 d after birth. At least one of the compensatory mechanisms preventing a more severe skin phenotype in newborn Lor(-/-) mice is an increase in the expression of other CE components, such as SPRRP2D and SPRRP2H, members of the family of "small proline rich proteins", and repetin, a member of the "fused gene" subgroup of the S100 gene family. (+info)
Transgenic mice expressing a mutant form of loricrin reveal the molecular basis of the skin diseases, Vohwinkel syndrome and progressive symmetric erythrokeratoderma.
Mutations in the cornified cell envelope protein loricrin have been reported recently in some patients with Vohwinkel syndrome (VS) and progressive symmetric erythrokeratoderma (PSEK). To establish a causative relationship between loricrin mutations and these diseases, we have generated transgenic mice expressing a COOH-terminal truncated form of loricrin that is similar to the protein expressed in VS and PSEK patients. At birth, transgenic mice (ML.VS) exhibited erythrokeratoderma with an epidermal barrier dysfunction. 4 d after birth, high-expressing transgenic animals showed a generalized scaling of the skin, as well as a constricting band encircling the tail and, by day 7, a thickening of the footpads. Histologically, ML. VS transgenic mice also showed retention of nuclei in the stratum corneum, a characteristic feature of VS and PSEK. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy showed the mutant loricrin protein in the nucleus and cytoplasm of epidermal keratinocytes, but did not detect the protein in the cornified cell envelope. Transfection experiments indicated that the COOH-terminal domain of the mutant loricrin contains a nuclear localization signal. To determine whether the ML.VS phenotype resulted from dominant-negative interference of the transgene with endogenous loricrin, we mated the ML.VS transgenics with loricrin knockout mice. A severe phenotype was observed in mice that lacked expression of wild-type loricrin. Since loricrin knockout mice are largely asymptomatic (Koch, P.K., P. A. de Viragh, E. Scharer, D. Bundman, M.A. Longley, J. Bickenbach, Y. Kawachi, Y. Suga, Z. Zhou, M. Huber, et al., J. Cell Biol. 151:389-400, this issue), this phenotype may be attributed to expression of the mutant form of loricrin. Thus, deposition of the mutant protein in the nucleus appears to interfere with late stages of epidermal differentiation, resulting in a VS-like phenotype. (+info)
Isolation and characterization of human beta -defensin-3, a novel human inducible peptide antibiotic.
The growing public health problem of infections caused by multiresistant Gram-positive bacteria, in particular Staphylococcus aureus, prompted us to screen human epithelia for endogenous S. aureus-killing factors. A novel 5-kDa, nonhemolytic antimicrobial peptide (human beta-defensin-3, hBD-3) was isolated from human lesional psoriatic scales and cloned from keratinocytes. hBD-3 demonstrated a salt-insensitive broad spectrum of potent antimicrobial activity against many potentially pathogenic microbes including multiresistant S. aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. Ultrastructural analyses of hBD-3-treated S. aureus revealed signs of cell wall perforation. Recombinant hBD-3 (expressed as a His-Tag-fusion protein in Escherichia coli) and chemically synthesized hBD-3 were indistinguishable from naturally occurring peptide with respect to their antimicrobial activity and biochemical properties. Investigation of different tissues revealed skin and tonsils to be major hBD-3 mRNA-expressing tissues. Molecular cloning and biochemical analyses of antimicrobial peptides in cell culture supernatants revealed keratinocytes and airway epithelial cells as cellular sources of hBD-3. Tumor necrosis factor alpha and contact with bacteria were found to induce hBD-3 mRNA expression. hBD-3 therefore might be important in the innate epithelial defense of infections by various microorganisms seen in skin and lung, such as cystic fibrosis. (+info)
Autonomic nervous system responses associated with primary tastes.
The hedonic dimension of the taste sensation plays a crucial role in the control of many taste-mediated responses related to food ingestion or rejection. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the emotional reactivity associated with each primary taste (sweet, salty, sour and bitter) through analysis of the variations of autonomic nervous system (ANS) parameters. Thirty-four healthy non-smoker volunteer subjects (17 males and 17 females, mean age = 28 years) participated in the experiment. Taste stimuli were solutions of 0.3 M sucrose (sweet), 0.15 M NaCl (salty), 0.02 M citric acid (sour) and 0.00015 M quinine sulfate (bitter). Evian mineral water was used as the diluent and control (neutral taste). Throughout the test, five ANS parameters (skin potential and skin resistance, skin blood flow and skin temperature, and instantaneous heart rate) were simultaneously and continuously recorded. Results of the ANOVA evidenced a significant effect of primary taste on skin resistance amplitude (P: < 0.001) and duration (P: < 0.0001), skin temperature amplitude (P: < 0.001), skin blood flow amplitude (vasoconstriction) (P: < 0.0001) and instantaneous heart rate increase (P: < 0.0001). Skin resistance and cardiac responses were the most relevant ANS parameters to distinguish among the taste solutions. The four primary tastes could be associated with significantly different ANS responses in relation to their hedonic valence: the pleasantly connoted and innate-accepted sweet taste induced the weakest ANS responses whereas the unpleasant connoted tastes (salty, sour and bitter) induced stronger ANS responses, the innate-rejected bitter taste inducing the strongest ones. Such a neurovegetative characterization of each primary taste could provide references for the hedonic analysis of the more complex gustative sensation attached to foods. (+info)
Capillaroscopy and the measurement of capillary pressure.
Capillaries play a critical role in cardiovascular function as the point of exchange of nutrients and waste products between the tissues and circulation. Studies of capillary function in man are limited by access to the vascular bed. However, skin capillaries can readily be studied by the technique of capillaroscopy which enables the investigator to assess morphology, density and blood flow velocity. It is also possible to estimate capillary pressure by direct cannulation using glass micropipettes. This review will describe the techniques used to make these assessments and will outline some of the changes that are seen in health and disease. (+info)
The orienting response of Lake Michigan mottled sculpin is mediated by canal neuromasts.
Lake Michigan mottled sculpin, Cottus bairdi, exhibit a naturally occurring and unconditioned orienting response that can be triggered by both live prey and chemically inert vibrating spheres, even in blinded animals. CoCl(2)-induced reductions of the orienting response demonstrate that the lateral line is required for this behavior in the absence of non-mechanosensory cues (such as vision), but shed no light on the relative contributions of superficial and canal neuromasts to this behavior. To determine the relative roles of these two subsystems, we measured the frequency with which mottled sculpin oriented towards a small vibrating sphere before and after two treatments: (i) immersion of fish in a solution of gentamicin, an aminoglycoside antibiotic that damages hair cells in canal, but not superficial, neuromasts; and (ii) scraping the skin of the fish, which damages the superficial, but not the canal, neuromasts. To ensure that both superficial and canal neuromasts were adequately stimulated, we tested at different vibration frequencies (10 and 50 Hz) near or at the best frequency for each type of neuromast. At both test frequencies, response rates before treatment were greater than 70 % and were significantly greater than 'spontaneous' response frequencies measured in the absence of sphere vibration. Response rates fell to spontaneous levels after 1 day of gentamicin treatment and did not return to pre-treatment levels for 10-15 days. In contrast, response rates stayed approximately the same after superficial neuromasts had been damaged by skin abrasion. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed hair cell damage (loss of apical cilia) in canal, but not superficial, neuromasts of gentamicin-treated animals after as little as 24 h of treatment. The sensory epithelium of canal neuromasts gradually returned to normal, following a time course similar to behavioral loss and recovery of the orienting response, whereas that of superficial neuromasts appeared normal throughout the entire period. This study shows that the orienting response of the mottled sculpin is mediated by canal neuromasts. (+info)