Claudin-1 is a p63 target gene with a crucial role in epithelial development

Teresa Lopardo, Nadia Lo Iacono, Barbara Marinari, Maria L. Giustizieri, Daniel G. Cyr, Giorgio Merlo, Francesca Crosti, Antonio Costanzo, Luisa Guerrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The epidermis of the skin is a self-renewing, stratified epithelium that functions as the interface between the human body and the outer environment, and acts as a barrier to water loss. Components of intercellular junctions, such as Claudins, are critical to maintain tissue integrity and water retention. p63 is a transcription factor essential for proliferation of stem cells and for stratification in epithelia, mutated in human heredity syndromes characterized by ectodermal dysplasia. Both p63 and Claudin-1 null mice die wihin few hours from birth due to dehydration from severe skin abnormalities. These observations suggested the possibility that these two genes might be linked in one regulatory pathway with p63 possibly regulating Claudin-1 expression. Here we show that silencing of ΔNp63 in primary mouse keratinocytes results in a marked down-regulation of Claudin-1 expression (-80%). ΔNp63α binds in vivo to the Claudin-1 promoter and activates both the endegenous Claudin-1 gene and a reporter vector containing a -1.4 Kb promoter fragment of the Claudin-1 gene. Accordingly, Claudin-1 expression was absent in the skin of E15.5 p63 null mice and natural p63 mutant proteins, specifically those found in Ankyloblepharon-Ectodermal dysplasia-Clefting (AEC) patients, were indeed altered in their capacity to regulate Claudin-1 transcription. This correlates with deficient Claudin-1 expression in the epidermis of an AEC patient carrying the 1537T p63 mutation. Notably, AEC patients displays skin fragility similar to what observed in the epidermis of Claudin-1 and p63 null mice. These findings reinforce the hypothesis that these two genes might be linked in a common regulatory pathway and that Claudin-1 may is an important p63 target gene involved in the pathogenesis of ectodermal dysplasias.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2715
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 23 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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