2001 J Invest Dermatol 2001 ;117 (6):1421-9
L'Oreal, Life Sciences Research, Clichy, France. [email protected]

Regulation of keratin expression by ultraviolet radiation: differential and specific effects of ultraviolet B and ultraviolet a exposure

Skin, the most superficial tissue of our body, is the first target of environmental stimuli, among which is solar ultraviolet radiation. Very little is known about the regulation of keratin gene expression by ultraviolet radiation, however, although (i) it is well established that ultraviolet exposure is involved in skin cancers and photoaging and (ii) keratins represent the major epidermal proteins. The aim of this study was to analyze the regulation of human keratin gene expression under ultraviolet B (290-320 nm) or ultraviolet A (320-400 nm) irradiation using a panel of constructs comprising different human keratin promoters cloned upstream of a chloramphenicol acetyl transferase reporter gene and transfected into normal epidermal keratinocytes. By this approach, we demonstrated that ultraviolet B upregulated the transcription of keratin 19 gene and to a lesser extent the keratin 6, keratin 5, and keratin 14 genes. The DNA sequence responsible for keratin 19 induction was localized between -130 and +1. In contrast to ultraviolet B, ultraviolet A irradiation induced only an increase in keratin 17, showing a differential gene regulation between these two ultraviolet ranges. The induction of keratin 19 was confirmed by studying the endogenous protein in keratinocytes in classical cultures as well as in skin reconstructed in vitro and normal human skin. These data show for the first time that keratin gene expression is regulated by ultraviolet radiation at the transcriptional level with a specificity regarding the ultraviolet domain of solar light.