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Ceramide (CER)-based biological membranes are used both experimentally and in simulations as simplified model systems of the skin barrier. Molecular dynamics studies have generally focused on simulating preassembled structures using atomistically detailed models of CERs, which limit the system sizes and time scales that can practically be probed, rendering them ineffective for studying particular phenomena, including self-assembly into bilayer and lamellar superstructures. Here, we report on the development of a coarse-grained (CG) model for CER NS, the most abundant CER in human stratum corneum. Multistate iterative Boltzmann inversion is used to derive the intermolecular pair potentials, resulting in a force field that is applicable over a range of state points and suitable for studying ceramide self-assembly. The chosen CG mapping, which includes explicit interaction sites for hydroxyl groups, captures the directional nature of hydrogen bonding and allows for accurate predictions of several key structural properties of CER NS bilayers. Simulated wetting experiments allow the hydrophobicity of CG beads to be accurately tuned to match atomistic wetting behavior, which affects the whole system, since inaccurate hydrophobic character is found to unphysically alter the lipid packing in hydrated lamellar states. We find that CER NS can self-assemble into multilamellar structures, enabling the study of lipid systems more representative of the multilamellar lipid structures present in the skin barrier. The coarse-grained force field derived herein represents an important step in using molecular dynamics to study the human skin barrier, which gives a resolution not available through experiment alone.
Precise patterning of dendritic arbors is critical for the wiring and function of neural circuits. Dendrite-extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesion ensures that the dendrites of Drosophila dendritic arborization (da) sensory neurons are properly restricted in a 2D space, and thereby facilitates contact-mediated dendritic self-avoidance and tiling. However, the mechanisms regulating dendrite-ECM adhesion in vivo are poorly understood. Here, we show that mutations in the semaphorin ligand sema-2b lead to a dramatic increase in self-crossing of dendrites due to defects in dendrite-ECM adhesion, resulting in a failure to confine dendrites to a 2D plane. Furthermore, we find that Sema-2b is secreted from the epidermis and signals through the Plexin B receptor in neighboring neurons. Importantly, we find that Sema-2b/PlexB genetically and physically interacts with TORC2 complex, Tricornered (Trc) kinase, and integrins. These results reveal a novel role for semaphorins in dendrite patterning and illustrate how epidermal-derived cues regulate neural circuit assembly.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Skin is a complex organ tasked with, among other functions, protecting the body from the outside world. Its outermost protective layer, the epidermis, is comprised of multiple cell layers that are derived from a single-layered ectoderm during development. Using a new stochastic, multi-scale computational modelling framework, the anisotropic subcellular element method, we investigate the role of cell morphology and biophysical cell-cell interactions in the formation of this layered structure. This three-dimensional framework describes interactions between collections of hundreds to thousands of cells and (i) accounts for intracellular structure and morphology, (ii) easily incorporates complex cell-cell interactions and (iii) can be efficiently implemented on parallel architectures. We use this approach to construct a model of the developing epidermis that accounts for the internal polarity of ectodermal cells and their columnar morphology. Using this model, we show that cell detachment, which has been previously suggested to have a role in this process, leads to unpredictable, randomized stratification and that this cannot be abrogated by adjustment of cell-cell adhesion interaction strength. Polarized distribution of cell adhesion proteins, motivated by epithelial polarization, can however eliminate this detachment, and in conjunction with asymmetric cell division lead to robust and predictable development.
© 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - We explored associations between mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups, epidermal nerve fiber density (ENFD), and HIV-associated sensory neuropathy (HIV-SN) in a randomized trial of Thai patients initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART).
DESIGN - The South East Asia Research Collaboration with Hawaii 003 study evaluated toxicity of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (stavudine vs. zidovudine vs. tenofovir). We present secondary analyses of mtDNA haplogroups and ENFD changes.
METHODS - ENFD, peripheral blood mononuclear cell mitochondrial complex I and IV, and 8-oxo-deoxyguanine (8-oxo-dG) were quantified. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell mtDNA sequences were obtained for haplogroup determination. Multivariate regression of ENFD change was performed.
RESULTS - Paired ENFD was available from 118 patients. Median age, CD4 cell count, and height at entry were 34 years, 172 cells/μl, and 162 cm, respectively. Major haplogroups included M (42%), F (21%), and B (16%). Baseline ENFD, CD4 cell count, randomized ART, and biomarkers did not differ by haplogroup. Haplogroup B patients were older (P=0.02) at baseline, and had an increase in median ENFD (+1.5 vs. -2.9 fibers/mm; P=0.03) and 8-oxo-dG break frequency (+0.05 vs. 0.00; P=0.05) compared to other haplogroups. In a multivariate model, haplogroup B was associated with increased ENFD (β=3.5, P=0.009) at week 24, whereas older age (P=0.02), higher baseline CD4 cell count, (P=0.03), higher complex I level (P=0.03), and higher ENFD (P<0.001) at baseline were all associated with decreased ENFD. Three of the six HIV-SN cases were haplogroup B (P=0.05).
CONCLUSIONS - Thai persons belonging to mtDNA haplogroup B had increased ENFD and 8-oxo-dG on ART, and were more likely to develop HIV-SN. These results suggest that mtDNA variation influences early oxidative damage and ENFD changes.
To increase our understanding of psoriasis, we used high-throughput complementary DNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to assay the transcriptomes of lesional psoriatic and normal skin. We sequenced polyadenylated RNA-derived complementary DNAs from 92 psoriatic and 82 normal punch biopsies, generating an average of ∼38 million single-end 80-bp reads per sample. Comparison of 42 samples examined by both RNA-seq and microarray revealed marked differences in sensitivity, with transcripts identified only by RNA-seq having much lower expression than those also identified by microarray. RNA-seq identified many more differentially expressed transcripts enriched in immune system processes. Weighted gene coexpression network analysis (WGCNA) revealed multiple modules of coordinately expressed epidermal differentiation genes, overlapping significantly with genes regulated by the long noncoding RNA TINCR, its target gene, staufen-1 (STAU1), the p63 target gene ZNF750, and its target KLF4. Other coordinately expressed modules were enriched for lymphoid and/or myeloid signature transcripts and genes induced by IL-17 in keratinocytes. Dermally expressed genes were significantly downregulated in psoriatic biopsies, most likely because of expansion of the epidermal compartment. These results show the power of WGCNA to elucidate gene regulatory circuits in psoriasis, and emphasize the influence of tissue architecture in both differential expression and coexpression analysis.
This review covers the background to discovery of the two key lipoxygenases (LOX) involved in epidermal barrier function, 12R-LOX and eLOX3, and our current views on their functioning. In the outer epidermis, their consecutive actions oxidize linoleic acid esterified in ω-hydroxy-ceramide to a hepoxilin-related derivative. The relevant background to hepoxilin and trioxilin biochemistry is briefly reviewed. We outline the evidence that linoleate in the ceramide is the natural substrate of the two LOX enzymes and our proposal for its importance in construction of the epidermal water barrier. Our hypothesis is that the oxidation promotes hydrolysis of the oxidized linoleate moiety from the ceramide. The resulting free ω-hydroxyl of the ω-hydroxyceramide is covalently bound to proteins on the surface of the corneocytes to form the corneocyte lipid envelope, a key barrier component. Understanding the role of the LOX enzymes and their hepoxilin products should provide rational approaches to ameliorative therapy for a number of the congenital ichthyoses involving compromised barrier function. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled The Important Role of Lipids in the Epidermis and their Role in the Formation and Maintenance of the Cutaneous Barrier. Guest Editors: Kenneth R. Feingold and Peter Elias.
More than 100 human genetic skin diseases, impacting over 20% of the population, are characterized by disrupted epidermal differentiation. A significant proportion of the 90 genes identified in these disorders to date are concentrated within several functional pathways, suggesting the emergence of organizing themes in epidermal differentiation. Among these are the Notch, transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), IκB kinase (IKK), Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), p63, and Wnt signaling pathways, as well as core biological processes mediating calcium homeostasis, tissue integrity, cornification, and lipid biogenesis. Here, we review recent results supporting the central role of these pathways in epidermal differentiation, highlighting the integration of genetic information with functional studies to illuminate the biological actions of these pathways in humans as well as to guide development of future therapeutics to correct their dysfunction.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Forisomes are protein polymers found in leguminous plants that have the remarkable ability to undergo reversible "muscle-like" contractions in the presence of divalent cations and in extreme pH environments. To gain insight into the molecular basis of forisome structure and assembly, we used confocal laser scanning microscopy to monitor the assembly of fluorescence-labeled artificial forisomes in real time, revealing two distinct assembly processes involving either fiber elongation or fiber alignment. We also used scanning and transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction to investigate the ultrastructure of forisomes, finding that individual fibers are arranged into compact fibril bundles that disentangle with minimal residual order in the presence of calcium ions. To demonstrate the potential applications of artificial forisomes, we created hybrid protein bodies from forisome subunits fused to the B-domain of staphylococcal protein A. This allowed the functionalization of the artificial forisomes with antibodies that were then used to target forisomes to specific regions on a substrate, providing a straightforward approach to develop forisome-based technical devices with precise configurations. The functional contractile properties of forisomes are also better preserved when they are immobilized via affinity reagents rather than by direct contact to the substrate. Artificial forisomes produced in plants and yeast therefore provide an ideal model for the investigation of forisome structure and assembly and for the design and testing of tailored artificial forisomes for technical applications.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are extracellular proteases highly expressed at wound sites. However, the precise function of MMPs during reepithelialization in vivo has been elusive in mammalian models because of the high level of redundancy among the 24 mammalian MMPs. For this reason we used Drosophila melanogaster, whose genome encodes only two MMPs-one secreted type (Mmp1) and one membrane-anchored type (Mmp2)-to study the function and regulation of the secreted class of MMPs in vivo. In the absence of redundancy, we found that the Drosophila secreted MMP, Mmp1, is required in the epidermis to facilitate reepithelialization by remodeling the basement membrane, promoting cell elongation and actin cytoskeletal reorganization, and activating extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling. In addition, we report that the jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway upregulates Mmp1 expression after wounding, but that Mmp1 is expressed independent of the JNK pathway in unwounded epidermis. When the JNK pathway is ectopically activated to overexpress Mmp1, the rate of healing is accelerated in an Mmp1-dependent manner. A primary function of Mmp1, under the control of the JNK pathway, is to promote basement membrane repair, which in turn may permit cell migration and the restoration of a continuous tissue.
The pathogenesis of impaired healing within pressure ulcers remains poorly characterized and rarely examined. We describe the results of a pilot study that applies matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry technology for direct tissue analysis to evaluate proteomic signatures ranging from 2 to 20 kDa and phospholipids from 300-1,200 Da in focal regions within the wound microenvironment. Distinguishing molecular differences were apparent between upper vs. lower regions of ulcers and further contrasted against adjacent dermis and epidermal margins using protein profiles, ion density maps, principal component analysis and significant analysis of microarrays. Several proteins previously uncharacterized in pressure ulcers, the α-defensins (human neutrophil peptide [HNP]-1, -2, -3), are potential markers indicating whether the wound status is improving or being prolonged in a deleterious, chronic state. Thymosin β4 appears to be a favorable protein marker showing higher relative levels in adjacent dermis and maturing areas of the wound bed. Lipidomic examination revealed the presence of major lipid classes: glycerophosphocholines, glycerophosphoglycerols, glycerophosphoinositols, and triacylglycerols. Our pilot data examined from either a global perspective using proteomic or lipidomic signatures or as individual distributions reveal that imaging mass spectrometry technology can be effectively used for discovery and spatial mapping of molecular disturbances within the microenvironment of chronic wounds.
2011 by the Wound Healing Society.