Transactivation of involucrin, a marker of differentiation in keratinocytes, by lens epithelium-derived growth factor (LEDGF)

E. Kubo, N. Fatma, P. Sharma, T. Shinohara, L. T. Chylack, Y. Akagi, D. P. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Human involucrin (hINV), first appears in the cytosol of keratinocytes and ultimately cross-linked to membrane proteins via transglutaminase and forms a protective barrier as an insoluble envelope beneath the plasma membrane. Although the function and evolution of involucrin is known, the regulation of its gene expression is not well understood. An analysis of the hINV gene sequence, upstream of the transcription start site (-534 to +1 nt) revealed the presence of potential sites for binding of lens epithelium-derived growth factor (LEDGF); stress response element (STRE; A/TGGGGA/T) and heat shock element (HSE; nGAAn). We reported earlier that LEDGF activates stress-associated genes by binding to these elements and elevates cellular resistance to various stresses. Here, gel-shift and super-shift assays confirm the binding of LEDGF to the DNA fragments containing HSEs and STREs that are present in the involucrin gene promoter. Furthermore, hINV promoter linked to CAT reporter gene, cotransfected in human corneal simian virus 40-transformed keratinocytes (HCK), was transactivated by LEDGF significantly. In contrast, the activity of hINV promoter bearing mutations at the WT1 (containing HSE and STRE), WT2 (containing STRE) and WT3 (containing STRE) binding sites was diminished. In addition, in HCK cell over-expressing LEDGF, the levels of hINV mRNA and hINV protein are increased by four to five-fold. LEDGF is inducible to oxidants. Cells treated with 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA), known to stimulate production of H2O2, showed higher levels of LEDGF mRNA. Furthermore, our immunohistochemical studies revealed that hINV protein is found in the cytoplasm of HCK cells over-expressing LEDGF, but not detectable in the normal HCK cells or HCK cells transfected with vector. This regulation appears to be physiologically important, as over-expression of HCK with LEDGF increases the expression of the endogenous hINV gene and may provide new insight to understand the molecular mechanism of transcriptional regulation of this gene. LEDGF may play an important role in establishing an important barrier in corneal keratinocytes by maintaining epidermal turn-over rate, and protecting HCKs against stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1063
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA-LEDGF binding
  • Human involucrin promoter
  • Lens epithelium-derived growth factor
  • Stress and heat shock elements
  • Transcription-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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