ZNF750 is expressed in differentiated keratinocytes and regulates epidermal late differentiation genes

Idan Cohen, Ramon Y. Birnbaum, Keren Leibson, Ran Taube, Sara Sivan, Ohad S. Birk

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39 Scopus citations


Disrupted skin barrier due to altered keratinocyte differentiation is common in pathologic conditions such as atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis and psoriasis. However, the molecular cascades governing keratinocyte terminal differentiation are poorly understood. We have previously demonstrated that a dominant mutation in ZNF750 leads to a clinical phenotype reminiscent of psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Here we show that ZNF750 is a nuclear protein bearing a functional C-terminal nuclear localization signal. ZNF750 was specifically expressed in the epidermal suprabasal layers and its expression was augmented during differentiation, both in human skin and in-vitro, peaking in the granular layer. Silencing of ZNF750 in Ca2+-induced HaCaT keratinocytes led to morphologically apparent arrest in the progression of late differentiation, as well as diminished apoptosis and sustained proliferation. ZNF750 knockdown cells presented with markedly reduced expression of epidermal late differentiation markers, including gene subsets of epidermal differentiation complex and skin barrier formation such as FLG, LOR, SPINK5, ALOX12B and DSG1, known to be mutated in various human skin diseases. Furthermore, overexpression of ZNF750 in undifferentiated cells induced terminal differentiation genes. Thus, ZNF750 is a regulator of keratinocyte terminal differentiation and with its downstream targets can serve in future elucidation of therapeutics for common diseases of skin barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere42628
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
StatePublished - 24 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


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