Psoriasis is a frequent inflammatory skin disease characterized by keratinocyte hyperproliferation and a disease-related infiltration of immune cells. Here, we identified a novel pro-inflammatory signaling pathway driven by the cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) 4 and 6 and the methyltransferase EZH2 as a valid target for psoriasis therapy. Delineation of the pathway revealed that CDK4/6 phosphorylated EZH2 in keratinocytes, thereby triggering a methylation-induced activation of STAT3. Subsequently, active STAT3 resulted in the induction of IκBζ (IkappaBzeta), which is a key pro-inflammatory transcription factor required for cytokine synthesis in psoriasis. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of CDK4/6 or EZH2 abrogated psoriasis-related pro-inflammatory gene expression by suppressing IκBζ induction in keratinocytes. Importantly, topical application of CDK4/6 or EZH2 inhibitors on the skin was sufficient to fully prevent the development of psoriasis in various mouse models by suppressing STAT3-mediated IκBζ expression. Moreover, we found a hyperactivation of the CDK4/6-EZH2 pathway in human and mouse psoriatic skin lesions. Thus, this study not only identifies a novel psoriasis-relevant pro-inflammatory pathway, but also proposes the repurposing of CDK4/6 or EZH2 inhibitors as a new therapeutic option for psoriasis patients.
Anne Müller, Antje Dickmanns, Claudia Resch, Knut Schäkel, Stephan Hailfinger, Matthias Dobbelstein, Klaus Schulze-Osthoff, Daniela Kramer
The biology of harlequin ichthyosis (HI), a devastating skin disorder, caused by loss of function mutations in the gene ABCA12, is poorly understood and to date no satisfactory treatment has been developed. We sought to investigate pathomechanisms of HI which could lead to the identification of new treatments to improve patients’ quality of life. In this study, RNA-Seq and functional assays were performed to define the effects of loss of ABCA12, using HI patient skin samples and an engineered CRISPR-Cas9 ABCA12 KO cell line. The HI living skin equivalent (3D model) recapitulated the HI skin phenotype. The cytokines IL-36α and IL-36γ were upregulated in HI skin whereas the innate immune inhibitor, IL-37, was strongly downregulated. We also identified STAT1 and its downstream target inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) to be upregulated in the in vitro HI 3D model and HI patient skin samples. Inhibition of NOS2 using the inhibitor, 1400W, or the JAK inhibitor, tofacitinib, dramatically improved the in vitro HI phenotype by restoring the lipid barrier in the HI 3D model. Our study has identified dysregulated pathways in HI skin that are feasible therapeutic targets.
Florence Enjalbert, Priya Dewan, Matthew P. Caley, Eleri M. Jones, Mary A. Morse, David P. Kelsell, Anton J. Enright, Edel A. O'Toole
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, relapsing, inflammatory skin disease. HS appears to be a primary abnormality in the pilosebaceous-apocrine unit. In this work, we characterized hair follicle stem cells isolated from HS patients and more precisely the Outer Root Sheath Cells (ORS). We show that hair follicles from HS patients have an increased number of proliferating progenitor cells and lose quiescent stem cells. Remarkably, we also show that the progression of replication forks is altered in HS-ORS and activates the ATR-CHK1 pathway. These alterations are associated with an increased number of micronuclei and with the presence of cytoplasmic ssDNA, leading to the activation of IFI16-STING pathway and the production of type I IFNs. This mechanistic analysis of the etiology of HS in the hair follicle stem cells compartment establishes a formal link between the genetic predisposition and skin inflammation observed in HS.
Cindy Orvain, Yea-Lih Lin, Francette Jean-Louis, Hakim Hocini, Barbara Hersant, Yamina Bennasser, Nicolas Ortonne, Claire Hotz, Pierre Wolkenstein, Michele Boniotto, Pascaline Tisserand, Cecile Lefebvre, Jean-Daniel Lelievre, Monsef Benkirane, Philippe Pasero, Yves Levy, Sophie Hue
Kallikrein-related peptidase 6 (KLK6) is a secreted serine protease hypothesized to promote inflammation via cleavage of protease-activated receptors (PAR)1 and PAR2. KLK6 levels are elevated in multiple inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, but no definitive role in pathogenesis has been established. Here, we show that skin-targeted overexpression of KLK6 causes generalized, severe psoriasiform dermatitis with spontaneous development of debilitating psoriatic arthritis-like joint disease. The psoriatic skin and joint phenotypes are reversed by normalization of skin KLK6 levels and attenuated following genetic elimination of PAR1 but not PAR2. Conservation of this regulatory pathway was confirmed in human psoriasis using vorapaxar, an FDA-approved PAR1 antagonist, on explanted lesional skin from psoriasis patients. Beyond defining a critical role for KLK6-PAR1 signaling in promoting psoriasis, our results demonstrate that KLK6-PAR1-mediated inflammation in the skin alone is sufficient to drive inflammatory joint disease. Further, we identify PAR1 as a promising cytokine-independent target in therapy of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Allison C. Billi, Jessica E. Ludwig, Yi Fritz, Richard Rozic, William R. Swindell, Lam C. Tsoi, Dennis Gruszka, Shahla Abdollahi-Roodsaz, Xianying Xing, Doina Diaconu, Ranjitha Uppala, Maya I. Camhi, Philip A. Klenotic, Mrinal K. Sarkar, M. Elaine Husni, Jose U. Scher, Christine McDonald, J. Michelle Kahlenberg, Ronald J. Midura, Johann E. Gudjonsson, Nicole L. Ward
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MEK inhibitors (EGFR/MEKi) are beneficial for the treatment of solid cancers but are frequently associated with severe therapy-limiting acneiform skin toxicities. The underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Using gene expression profiling we identified IL-36γ and IL-8 as candidate drivers of EGFR/MEKi skin toxicity. We provide molecular and translational evidence that EGFR/MEKi in concert with the skin commensal bacterium Cutibacterium acnes act synergistically to induce IL-36γ in keratinocytes and subsequently IL-8, leading to cutaneous neutrophilia. IL-36γ expression was the combined result of C. acnes-induced NF-κB activation and EGFR/MEKi-mediated expression of the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4), due to the presence of both NF-κB- and KLF4-binding sites in the human IL-36γ gene promoter. EGFR/MEKi increased KLF4 expression by blockade of the EGFR-MEK-ERK pathway. These results provide an insight into understanding the pathological mechanism of the acneiform skin toxicities induced by EGFR/MEKi and identify IL-36γ and the transcription factor KLF4 as potential therapeutic targets.
Takashi K. Satoh, Mark Mellett, Barbara Meier-Schiesser, Gabriele Fenini, Atsushi Otsuka, Hans-Dietmar Beer, Tamara Rordorf, Julia-Tatjana Maul, Jürg Hafner, Alexander A. Navarini, Emmanuel Contassot, Lars E. French
The corneocyte lipid envelope composed of covalently bound ceramides and fatty acids is important to the integrity of the permeability barrier in the stratum corneum, and its absence is a prime structural defect in various skin diseases associated with defective skin barrier function. SDR9C7 encodes a short chain dehydrogenase/reductase family 9C member 7 (SDR9C7) recently found mutated in ichthyosis. In a patient with SDR9C7 mutation and a mouse Sdr9c7 knockout model we show loss of covalent binding of epidermal ceramides to protein, a structural fault in the barrier. For reasons unresolved, protein binding requires lipoxygenase-catalyzed transformations of linoleic acid (18:2) esterified in ω-O-acylceramides. In Sdr9c7-/- epidermis, quantitative LC-MS assays revealed almost complete loss of a species of ω-O-acylceramide esterified with linoleate-9,10-trans-epoxy-11E-13-ketone; other acylceramides related to the lipoxygenase pathway were in higher abundance. Recombinant SDR9C7 catalyzed NAD+-dependent dehydrogenation of linoleate 9,10-trans-epoxy-11E-13-alcohol to the corresponding 13-ketone, while ichthyosis mutants were inactive. We propose, therefore, that the critical requirement for lipoxygenases and SDR9C7 is in producing acylceramide containing the 9,10-epoxy-11E-13-ketone, a reactive moiety known for its non-enzymatic coupling to protein. This suggests a mechanism for coupling of ceramide to protein and provides important insights into skin barrier formation and pathogenesis.
Takuya Takeichi, Tetsuya Hirabayashi, Yuki Miyasaka, Akane Kawamoto, Yusuke Okuno, Shijima Taguchi, Kana Tanahashi, Chiaki Murase, Hiroyuki Takama, Kosei Tanaka, William E. Boeglin, M. Wade Calcutt, Daisuke Watanabe, Michihiro Kono, Yoshinao Muro, Junko Ishikawa, Tamio Ohno, Alan R. Brash, Masashi Akiyama
Dermal adipose tissue (dWAT) has been the focus of much discussion in recent years. However, dWAT remains poorly characterized. The fate of the mature dermal adipocytes and the origin of the rapidly re-appearing dermal adipocytes at different stages remain unclear. Here, we isolated dermal adipocytes and characterized dermal fat at the cellular and molecular level. Together with its dynamic responses to external stimuli, we established that dermal adipocytes are a distinct class of white adipocytes with high plasticity. By combining pulse-chase lineage tracing and single cell RNA-sequencing, we observed that mature dermal adipocytes undergo de-differentiation and re-differentiation under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Upon various challenges, the de-differentiated cells proliferate and re-differentiate into adipocytes. In addition, manipulation of dWAT highlighted an important role for mature dermal adipocytes for hair cycling and wound healing. Altogether, these observations unravel a surprising plasticity of dermal adipocytes and provide an explanation for the dynamic changes in dWAT mass that occur under physiological and pathophysiological conditions, and highlight the important contributions of dWAT towards maintaining skin homeostasis.
Zhuzhen Zhang, Mengle Shao, Chelsea Hepler, Zhenzhen Zi, Shangang Zhao, Yu A. An, Yi Zhu, Alexandra Ghaben, May-yun Wang, Na Li, Toshiharu Onodera, Nolwenn Joffin, Clair Crewe, Qingzhang Zhu, Lavanya Vishvanath, Ashwani Kumar, Chao Xing, Qiong A. Wang, Laurent Gautron, Yingfeng Deng, Ruth Gordillo, Ilja Kruglikov, Christine M. Kusminski, Rana K. Gupta, Philipp E. Scherer
Poroma is a benign skin tumor exhibiting terminal sweat gland duct differentiation. The present study aimed to explore the potential role of gene fusions in the tumorigenesis of poromas. RNA sequencing and reverse transcription PCR identified highly recurrent YAP1-MAML2 and YAP1-NUTM1 fusions in poromas (92/104 lesions, 88.5%) and their rare malignant counterpart, porocarcinomas (7/11 lesions, 63.6%). A WWTR1-NUTM1 fusion was identified in a single lesion of poroma. Fluorescent in-situ hybridization confirmed genomic rearrangements involving these genetic loci. Immunohistochemical staining could readily identify the YAP1 fusion products as nuclear expression of the N-terminal portion of YAP1 with a lack of the C-terminal portion. YAP1 and WWTR1, also known as YAP and TAZ, respectively, encode paralogous transcriptional activators of TEAD, which are negatively regulated by the Hippo signaling pathway. The YAP1 and WWTR1 fusions strongly transactivated a TEAD reporter and promoted anchorage-independent growth, confirming their tumorigenic roles. Our results demonstrate the frequent presence of transforming YAP1 fusions in poromas and porocarcinomas and suggest YAP1/TEAD-dependent transcription as a candidate therapeutic target against porocarcinoma.
Shigeki Sekine, Tohru Kiyono, Eijitsu Ryo, Reiko Ogawa, Susumu Wakai, Hitoshi Ichikawa, Koyu Suzuki, Satoru Arai, Koji Tsuta, Mitsuaki Ishida, Yuko Sasajima, Naoki Goshima, Naoya Yamazaki, Taisuke Mori
The development of metastatic melanoma is thought to require the dynamic shifting of neoplastic cells between proliferative and invasive phenotypes. Contrary to this conventional “phenotype switching” model, we now show that disease progression can involve malignant melanoma cells simultaneously displaying proliferative and invasive properties. Using a genetic mouse model of melanoma in combination with in vitro analyses of melanoma cell lines, we found that conditional deletion of the downstream signaling molecule Smad4, which abrogates all canonical TGF-β signaling, indeed inhibits both tumor growth and metastasis. Conditional deletion of the inhibitory signaling factor Smad7, however, generated cells that are both highly invasive and proliferative, indicating that invasiveness is compatible with a high proliferation rate. In fact, conditional Smad7 deletion led to sustained melanoma growth and at the same time promoted massive metastasis formation, a result consistent with data indicating that low SMAD7 levels in patient tumors are associated with a poor survival. Our findings reveal that modulation of SMAD7 levels can overcome the need for phenotype switching during tumor progression and may thus represent a novel therapeutic target in metastatic disease.
Eylul Tuncer, Raquel R. Calçada, Daniel Zingg, Sandra Varum, Phil Cheng, Sandra N. Freiberger, Chu-Xia Deng, Ingo Kleiter, Mitchell P. Levesque, Reinhard Dummer, Lukas Sommer
The aging-associated increase of cancer risk is linked with stromal fibroblast senescence and concomitant cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF) activation. Surprisingly little is known about the role of androgen receptor (AR) signaling in this context. We have found downmodulated AR expression in dermal fibroblasts underlying premalignant skin cancer lesions (actinic keratoses and dysplastic nevi) as well as in CAFs from the 3 major skin cancer types, squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), basal cell carcinomas, and melanomas. Functionally, decreased AR expression in primary human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) from multiple individuals induced early steps of CAF activation, and in an orthotopic skin cancer model, AR loss in HDFs enhanced tumorigenicity of SCC and melanoma cells. Forming a complex, AR converged with CSL/RBP-Jκ in transcriptional repression of key CAF effector genes. AR and CSL were positive determinants of each other’s expression, with BET inhibitors, which counteract the effects of decreased CSL, restoring AR expression and activity in CAFs. Increased AR expression in these cells overcame the consequences of CSL loss and was by itself sufficient to block the growth and tumor-enhancing effects of CAFs on neighboring cancer cells. As such, the findings establish AR as a target for stroma-focused cancer chemoprevention and treatment.
Andrea Clocchiatti, Soumitra Ghosh, Maria-Giuseppina Procopio, Luigi Mazzeo, Pino Bordignon, Paola Ostano, Sandro Goruppi, Giulia Bottoni, Atul Katarkar, Mitchell Levesque, Peter Kölblinger, Reinhard Dummer, Victor Neel, Berna C. Özdemir, G. Paolo Dotto