Biochemical and biophysical research communications

The impact of extracellular syntaxin4 on HaCaT keratinocyte behavior.

PMID 22226963


Syntaxin4 belongs to t-SNARE protein family and functions as a vesicular fusion mediator in the plasma membrane in a wide variety of cell types. This protein resembles another family member, epimorphin, a subpopulation of which has been shown to be secreted extracellularly in order to exert signaling functions. Here, we demonstrate the secretion of syntaxin4 via a non-classical pathway and its extracellular functions by using the functionally normal keratinocyte HaCaT. Extracellularly presented syntaxin4 appeared to elicit many cell responses similar to epimorphin with an important exception: it clearly facilitated keratinocyte cornification. The circularized peptide ST4n1 was synthesized from the putative functional core of syntaxin4 (a.a. 103-108), which is equivalent to the previously generated antagonist of epimorphin, and neutralized this contradictory effect. Intriguingly, an epimorphin mutant (EP4M) in which the functional core was replaced by that of syntaxin4 behaved like epimorphin, which was again antagonized by ST4n1. Electrophoresis-based analyses demonstrated the distinct structure of syntaxin4 compared to epimorphin or EP4M. These results revealed, for the first time, the extracellular role of syntaxin4 and shed light on the division of the extracellular effects exerted by epimorphin and syntaxin4 on keratinocyte cornification.