Homeostatic transcriptional regulation of bcl-2 in the epidermis

Nikhil S Chari, The University of Texas Grad. Sch. of Biomed. Sci. at Houston


Bcl-2, a crucial regulator of cell survival, is frequently overexpressed in basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), the most commonly diagnosed cancers. Regulation of bcl-2 expression in epidermal keratinocytes is not well characterized. In the epidermis, bcl-2 is expressed only in keratinocytes of the basal layer and the outer root sheath of hair follicles and no bcl-2 expression in suprabasalar keratinocytes. The calcium gradient in the epidermis is a potent regulator of keratinocyte differentiation. Increasing calcium concentrations associated with differentiation, resulted in the downregulation of a 2.9 kb bcl-2 promoter luciferase construct. The AP-1 family of transcription factors is differentially expressed in the strata of the epidermis and has been shown to be involved in the stage specific expression of numerous differentiation markers in the epidermis. In silico analysis of the bcl-2 promoter and gene reporter assays showed that co-transfection of JUNB and JUND, but not other AP-1 dimers, caused a significant upregulation of the bcl-2 promoter in primary keratinocytes. Immunoelectrophoretic mobility shift assays, in vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) studies and mutational analysis of AP-1 binding site 3 on the bcl-2 promoter identified it as the site involved in bcl-2 regulation. Utilizing site directed mutants, we determined that phosphorylation at Ser90/Ser100 residues of JUND is required for the activation of the bcl-2 promoter. ^ The sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway is frequently deregulated in BCCs and, we have shown that GLI1 upregulates bcl-2 in keratinocytes. While examining potential regulation of the SHH pathway extracellular calcium, we found that higher calcium concentrations are associated with lowered HH pathway activity and upregulation of suppressor of fused (SUFU) which negatively regulates the SHH pathway. ChIP assays, and in vivo mouse models, show that ΔNp63α, a crucial regulator of epidermal development, binds and activates the SUFU promoter in differentiating keratinocytes. Increasing SUFU levels prevent transactivation of the bcl-2 promoter. In vitro SUFU knockdown along with in vivo SUFU+/− murine models demonstrate a significant upregulation of bcl-2 expression. ^ In conclusion, the spatial and temporal expression of bcl-2 during keratinocyte differentiation in the epidermis is a complex process requiring cooperative interactions of specific signaling cascades and transcription factors. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Molecular|Biology, Cell

Recommended Citation

Chari, Nikhil S, "Homeostatic transcriptional regulation of bcl-2 in the epidermis" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3289981.