Indexed on: 03 Feb '15Published on: 03 Feb '15Published in: Journal of Cellular Physiology
The physiological role of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) in keratinocytes and skin wound healing is completely unknown. The present study shows that CFTR is expressed in the multiple layers of keratinocytes in mouse epidermis and exhibits a dynamic expression pattern in a dorsal skin wound healing model, with diminishing levels observed from day 3 to day 5 and re-appearing from day 7 to day 10 after wounding. Knockdown of CFTR in cultured human keratinocytes promotes cell migration but inhibits differentiation, while overexpression of CFTR suppresses migration but enhances differentiation, indicating an important role of CFTR in regulating keratinocyte behavior. In addition, we have demonstrated a direct association of CFTR with epithelial junction formation as knockdown of CFTR downregulates the expression of adhesion molecules, such as E-cadherin, ZO-1 and β-catenin, and disrupts the formation of cell junction, while overexpression of CFTR enhances cell junction formation. More importantly, we have shown that ΔF508cftr-/- mice with defective CFTR exhibit delayed wound healing as compared to wild type mice, indicating that normal function of CFTR is critical for wound repair. Taken together, the present study has revealed a previously undefined role of CFTR in regulating skin wound healing processes, which may have implications in injury repair of other epithelial tissues.