Human involucrin (hINV) is a keratinocyte differentiation marker expressed in the suprabasal epidermal layers. In cultured keratinocytes hINV mRNA levels are increased 10-fold by a 24-h treatment with 50ng/ml PMA, an agent that promotes keratinocyte differentiation. Previous studies show that thapsigargin (TGN), an agent that depletes intracellular calcium stores, inhibits keratinocyte differentiation. In the present study we show that TGN inhibits the PMA-dependent, differentiation-associated, increase in hINV mRNA levels and hINV promoter activity. Inhibition is half-maximal at 10nM and maximal at 100nM TGN. Neither basal hINV promoter activity nor glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase mRNA levels are inhibited. Mutation of a functionally important CAATT-enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) site within the hINV promoter proximal regulatory region eliminates the regulation, suggesting that TGN may effect C/EBP-dependent promoter activation. Consistent with this hypothesis, TGN inhibits C/EBPα-dependent promoter activation via a mechanism that involves inhibition of C/EBPα binding to DNA without changing C/EBPα protein levels. These results suggest that TGN interferes with hINV expression by interfering with C/EBP transcription-factor function.
- gene expression
- The Biochemical Society, London © 2000