Role of HOXA7 in growth and differentiation of human keratinocytes
MetadataShow full item record
HOXA7 belongs to a family of homeobox transcription factors that are master regulators of cell differentiation, morphogenesis during embryonic development and cell proliferation. Dysregulation and non-nuclear localization of these proteins play a role in a large number of solid tumours, with reports of significant upregulation of HOXA7 in oral dysplasia. It is unclear whether HOXA7 induction in solid tumours is causative or if it is a result of oncogenic changes. In this thesis we studied its effect on cell differentiation, growth, stemness, cell migration, EMT and cell senescence. The main hypothesis was that HOXA7 regulated keratinocyte differentiation through the regulation of activator protein 1 (AP-1), a keratinocyte specific activator of differentiation. We also hypothesised that HOXA7 increased the proliferation rate in keratinocytes. In an AP-1 reporter assay in HEK293 cells, HOXA7 was shown to decrease AP-1 activity significantly. The inactivation of AP-1 was not due to inactivation of PKC, as HOXA7 did not interfere with the activation of the kinases in HEK293. More specifically, we reported a very significant repression of c-Jun and JunD promoter activity in the presence of ectopic HOXA7 in HEK293 cells. We further showed that this mechanism might also be applicable in keratinocytes, as HOXA7 inhibited the transcription of AP-1 subunits of both the Jun and Fos family in skin keratinocytes. Furthermore, we showed transcriptional repression of four differentiation markers and a downregulation of K1 and FLG protein in transduced NEB-1 monolayers as well as K1 suppression in HaCaT cells. The organotypic cultures revealed a downregulation of K1, K10, and filaggrin in stratified HaCaT cells by HOXA7. There was however no downregulation in oral keratinocytes. These observations taken together suggested that HOXA7 repressed the synthesis of AP-1 units in skin keratinocytes, which would have resulted in reduced quantities of AP-1 and therefore lower activity. Contrary to previous reports, we observed no positive involvement of HOXA7 in keratinocyte proliferation, EMT or migration. There was however an indication of cell-type specific MET and induced cell senescence. Based on our results we propose a cell-type specific role of HOXA7 as an antagonist of AP-1 transcription in skin keratinocytes, and a possible direct binding of HOXA7 to c-Jun and JunD promoters.
AuthorsNguyen, Ngoc Thuan Khanh
- Theses