Development of a keratinocyte-based screening model for antipsoriatic drugs using green fluorescent protein under the control of an endogenous promoter.
SourceJournal of Biomolecular Screening, 7, 4, (2002), pp. 325-332
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Biomolecular Screening
SubjectEpidermal differentiation and cutaneous inflammation; Epidermale differentiatie en cutane ontstekingsprocessen
Inflamed epidermis (psoriasis, wound healing, ultraviolet-irradiated skin) harbors keratinocytes that are hyperproliferative and display an abnormal differentiation program. A distinct feature of this so-called regenerative maturation pathway is the expression of proteins such as the cytokeratins CK6, CK16, and CK17 and the antiinflammatory protein SKALP/elafin. These proteins are absent in normal skin but highly induced in lesional psoriatic skin. Expression of these genes can be used as a surrogate marker for psoriasis in drug-screening procedures of large compound libraries. The aim of this study was to develop a keratinocyte cell line that contained a reporter gene under the control of a psoriasis-associated endogenous promoter and demonstrate its use in an assay suitable for screening. We generated a stably transfected keratinocyte cell line that expresses enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), under the control of a 0.8-kb fragment derived from the promoter of the SKALP/elafin gene, which confers high levels of tissue-specific expression at the mRNA level. Induction of the SKALP promoter by tumor necrosis factor-alpha resulted in increased expression levels of the secreted SKALP-EGFP fusion protein as assessed by direct readout of fluorescence and fluorescence polarization in 96-well cell culture plates. The fold stimulation of the reporter gene was comparable to that of the endogenous SKALP gene as assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Although the dynamic range of the screening system is limited, the small standard deviation yields a Z factor of 0.49. This indicates that the assay is suitable as a high-throughput screen, and provides proof of the concept that a secreted EGFP fusion protein under the control of a physiologically relevant endogenous promoter can be used as a fluorescence-based high-throughput screen for differentiation-modifying or antiinflammatory compounds that act via the keratinocyte.
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