Normal human keratinocytes synthesize and secrete biologically active nerve growth factor (NGF) in a growth regulated fashion (Di Marco, E., Marchisio, P. C., Bondanza, S., Franzi, A. T., Cancedda, R., and De Luca, M. (1991) J. Biol. Chem. 266, 21718-21722). Here we show that the same human keratinocytes bind NGF via low and high affinity receptors. In parallel with the course of NGF synthesis, the expression of low affinity NGF receptor (p75NGFr) decreases when a confluent, differentiated, and fully stratified epithelium is obtained. In skin sections, p75NGFr is present in basal keratinocytes and absent from suprabasal, terminally differentiated cells. The trkA protooncogene product (p140trkA), a component of the NGF receptor, is not expressed by keratinocytes. Instead, keratinocytes express a new member of the trk family (that we termed trkE), which generates 3.9-kilobase transcripts. Keratinocyte-derived NGF plays a key role in the autocrine epidermal cell proliferation. This has been proven by (i) direct effect of NGF on [3H]thymidine incorporation, (ii) inhibition of autocrine keratinocyte growth by monoclonal antibodies (αD11) inhibiting human NGF biological activity, and (iii) inhibition of autocrine keratinocyte proliferation by a trk-specific inhibitor, the natural alkaloid K252a. These data provide evidence that NGF, in addition to its effect as a survival and differentiation factor, is a potent regulator of cell proliferation, at least in human epithelial cells.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Biological Chemistry|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 25 1993|
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