Experimental dermatology

Lysyl oxidase silencing impairs keratinocyte differentiation in a reconstructed-epidermis model.

PMID 20812961


Lysyl Oxidase (LOX) is an extracellular enzyme involved in the maturation of connective tissues. It also acts in many cell types as a regulator of cell behaviour and phenotype through intracellular signalling pathways. Recently, LOX was shown to be present in human epidermis where its precise functions remain unclear. We showed here that in confluent monolayer cultures of normal human keratinocytes (KCs) and N/TERT-1-immortalized KCs, LOX expression was induced during the first differentiation steps. Moreover, the silencing of LOX by stable RNA interference disrupted the expression of early differentiation markers. In a reconstructed-epidermis model, LOX silencing did not impair the stratification process nor the formation of the first differentiated layers. However, terminal differentiation was strongly impaired, as shown by a decreased expression of late differentiation proteins and by the absence of stratum corneum. Nonetheless, inhibition of LOX enzymatic activity by β-aminopropionitrile did not affect the differentiation process. Therefore, LOX protein acts during the first steps of KC differentiation and is important for subsequent commitment into terminal differentiation. Taken together, these results suggest that a finely regulated expression of LOX is necessary for normal KC differentiation and thus for maintenance of epidermal homeostasis.