The desmosomal protein desmoglein 1 aids recovery of epidermal differentiation after acute UV light exposure

Jodi L. Johnson, Jennifer L. Koetsier, Anna Sirico, Ada T. Agidi, Dario Antonini, Caterina Missero, Kathleen J. Green*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Epidermal structure is damaged by exposure to UV light, but the molecular mechanisms governing structural repair are largely unknown. UVB (290-320 nm wavelengths) exposure before induction of differentiation reduced expression of differentiation-associated proteins, including desmoglein 1 (Dsg1), desmocollin 1 (Dsc1), and keratins 1 and 10 (K1/K10), in a dose-dependent manner in normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEKs). The UVB-induced reduction in both Dsg1 transcript and protein was associated with reduced binding of the p63 transcription factor to previously unreported enhancer regulatory regions of the Dsg1 gene. As Dsg1 promotes epidermal differentiation in addition to participating in cell-cell adhesion, the role of Dsg1 in aiding differentiation after UVB damage was tested. Compared with controls, depleting Dsg1 via short hairpin RNA resulted in further reduction of Dsc1 and K1/K10 expression in monolayer NHEK cultures and in abnormal epidermal architecture in organotypic skin models recovering from UVB exposure. Ectopic expression of Dsg1 in keratinocyte monolayers rescued the UVB-induced differentiation defect. Treatment of UVB-exposed monolayer or organotypic cultures with trichostatin A, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, partially restored differentiation marker expression, suggesting a potential therapeutic strategy for reversing UV-induced impairment of epidermal differentiation after acute sun exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2154-2162
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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