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Title: Mechanisms of epigenetic regulation in epidermal keratinocytes during skin development : role of p63 transcription factor in the establishment of lineage-specific gene expression programs in keratinocytes via regulation of nuclear envelope-associated genes and polycomb chromatin remodelling factors
Author: Rapisarda, Valentina
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 958X
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2014
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During tissues development multipotent progenitor cells establish tissue-specific gene expression programmes, leading to differentiation into specialized cell types. It has been previously shown that the transcription factor p63, a master regulator of skin development, controls the expression of adhesion molecules and essential cytoskeleton components. It has also been shown that p63 plays an important role in establishing distinct three-dimensional conformations in the Epidermal Differentiation Complex (EDC) locus (Fessing et al., 2011). Here we show that in p63-null mice about 32% of keratinocytes showed altered nuclear morphology. Alterations in the nuclear shape were accompanied by decreased expression of nuclear lamins (Lamin A/C and Lamin B1), proteins of the LINC complex (Sun-1, nesprin-2/3) and Plectin. Plectin links components of the nuclear envelope (nesprin-3) with cytoskeleton and ChIP-qPCR assay with adult epidermal keratinocytes showed p63 binding to the consensus binding sequences on Plectin 1c, Sun-1 and Nesprin-3 promoters. As a possible consequence of the altered expression of nuclear lamins and nuclear envelope-associated proteins, changes in heterochromatin distribution as well as decrease of the expression of several polycomb proteins (Ezh2, Ring1B, Cbx4) has been observed in p63-null keratinocytes. Moreover, recent data in our lab have showed that p63 directly regulates Cbx4, a component of the polycomb PRC1 complex. Here we show that mice lacking Cbx4 displayed a skin phenotype, which partially resembles the one observed in p63-null mice with reduced epidermal thickness and keratinocyte proliferation. All together these data demonstrate that p63-regulated gene expression program in epidermal keratinocytes includes not only genes encoding adhesion molecules, cytoskeleton proteins (cytokeratins) and chromatin remodelling factors (Satb1, Brg1), but also polycomb proteins and components of the nuclear envelope, suggesting the existence of a functional link between cytoskeleton, nuclear architecture and three dimensional nuclear organization. Other proteins important for proper epidermal development and stratification, are cytokeratins. Here, we show that keratin genes play an essential role in spatial organization of other lineage-specific genes in keratinocytes during epidermal development. In fact, ablation of keratin type II locus from chromosome 15 in epidermal keratinocytes led to changes in the genomic organization with increased distance between the Loricrin gene located on chromosome 3 as well as between Satb1 gene located on chromosome 17 and keratin type II locus, resulting in a more peripheral localization of these genes in the nucleus. As a possible consequence of their peripheral localization, reduced expression of Loricrin and Satb1 has also been observed in keratins type II-deficient mice. These findings together with recent circularized chromosome conformation capture (4C) data, strongly suggest that keratin 5, Loricrin and Satb1 are part of the same interactome, which is required for the proper expression of these genes and proper epidermal development and epidermal barrier formation. Taken together these data suggest that higher order chromatin remodelling and spatial organization of genes in the nucleus are important for the establishment of lineage-specific differentiation programs in epidermal progenitor cells. These data provide an important background for further analyses of nuclear architecture in the alterations of epidermal differentiation, seen in pathological conditions, such as psoriasis and epithelial skin cancers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Skin development, Human skin, Epigenetic regulation, p63 transcription factor, Epidermal keratinocytes, Polycomb chromatin remodelling factors