Keratin polypeptide expression in mouse epidermis and cultured epidermal cells

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18 Scopus citations


Adult mouse epidermis contains up to 11 distinct keratin polypeptides, as resolved by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. These include both basic (Type II; 67-, 65-, 63-, 62-, and 60-kDa) and acidic (Type I; 61- to 59-, 54-, 52-, 49-, and 48-kDa) keratins that exhibit multiple isoelectric forms. Several, but not all, of these keratins, identified by immunoblotting, were found to be actively synthesized in the skin when assayed in short-term pulse-labeling experiments. When compared to the adult, newborn mouse epidermis expresses fewer keratin subunits. However, greater amounts of keratins associated with differentiated suprabasal cells and stratum corneum, which is more pronounced morphologically in the newborn, were identified. We also observed strain-specific differences in the expression of a Type I acidic keratin. This 61-kDa (pI, approx. 5.3) keratin was produced exclusively by the CF-1 mouse and, based on peptide mapping, appeared to be related to the acidic 59-kDa keratin that was identified in this strain as well as all other mouse strains. The 61-kDa keratin was not expressed in vitamin A-deficient animals, suggesting that its appearance may be related to a retinoid-dependent posttranslational modification. In comparison to keratin expression in vivo, primary mouse keratinocyte monolayer cultures maintained in low Ca2+ (<0.08 mM) did not express the terminal differentiation keratins of 67-kDa (basic) or 59-kDa (acidic), although enhanced synthesis of the 60-kDa (basic) and the 52-kDa and 59-kDa (acidic) keratins associated with proliferation were observed. In addition, a subpopulation of nonadherent cells was continuously produced by the primary keratinocyte cultures that expressed the 67-kDa (basic) keratin specific for terminal differentiation. When the keratinocyte cultures were induced to terminally differentiate with Ca2+, the overall pattern of keratin expression was not changed significantly. Taken together, these results mouse epidermal keratinocytes under different growth conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-97
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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