Reaction of mast cell proteases tryptase and chymase with protease activated receptors (PARs) on keratinocytes and fibroblasts

Norman M. Schechter*, Lawrence F. Brass, Robert M. Lavker, Pamela J. Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Protease activated receptors (PARs) compose a family of G protein signal transduction receptors activated by proteolysis. In this study, the susceptibility of PARs expressed on human keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts to the human mast cell proteases tryptase and chymase was evaluated. PAR activation was measured by monitoring cytosolic [Ca2+] in cells loaded with the fluorescent Ca2+ probe Fura-2. Tryptase produced transient cytosolic Ca2+ mobilization in keratinocytes, but not in fibroblasts. Ca2+ mobilization in keratinocytes required enzymatically active tryptase, demonstrated desensitization, and was blocked by pretreatment of cells with the PAR-2 peptide against SLIGKV, trypsin, or the phospholipase inhibitor U73122. Heparin, a GAG that binds to tryptase, stabilizing its functional form, also inhibited tryptase-induced Ca2+ mobilization. The maximal response elicited by tryptase was smaller than that observed upon treatment of keratinocytes with trypsin, a known activator of PAR-2, and keratinocytes made refractory to tryptase by pretreatment with the protease remained responsive to trypsin. Pretreatment of keratinocytes with thrombin, an activator of PAR-1 and -3 (thrombin receptors), had no detectable effect on the tryptase or trypsin responses. These data suggest that in keratinocytes tryptase may be activating a subpopulation of PAR-2 receptors. Treatment of keratinocytes or fibroblasts with human chymase did not produce Ca2+ mobilization, nor did it affect Ca2+ mobilization produced by trypsin. However, chymase pretreatment of fibroblasts rapidly inhibited the ability of these cells to respond to thrombin. Inhibition was dependent on chymase enzymatic activity and was not significantly affected by the presence of heparin. This finding is consistent with studies indicating that PAR-1 may be susceptible to proteases with chymotrypsin-like specificity. These results suggest that the proteases tryptase and chymase secreted from mast cells in skin may affect the behavior of surrounding cells by the hydrolysis of PARs expressed by these cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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