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Dermatology - Physiology

Delayed Cutaneous Wound Healing and Aberrant Expression of Hair Follicle Stem Cell Markers in Mice Selectively Lacking Ctip2 in Epidermis
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Author: Xiaobo Liang et al.

by Xiaobo Liang, Shreya Bhattacharya, Gaurav Bajaj, Gunjan Guha, Zhixing Wang, Hyo-Sang Jang, Mark Leid, Arup Kumar Indra, Gitali Ganguli-Indra


COUP-TF interacting protein 2 [(Ctip2), also known as Bcl11b] is an important regulator of skin homeostasis, and is overexpressed in head and neck cancer. Ctip2ep-/- mice, selectively ablated for Ctip2 in epidermal keratinocytes, exhibited impaired terminal differentiation and delayed epidermal permeability barrier (EPB) establishment during development, similar to what was observed in Ctip2 null (Ctip2-/-) mice. Considering that as an important role of Ctip2, and the fact that molecular networks which underlie cancer progression partially overlap with those responsible for tissue remodeling, we sought to determine the role of Ctip2 during cutaneous wound healing.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Full thickness excisional wound healing experiments were performed on Ctip2L2/L2 and Ctip2ep-/- animals per time point and used for harvesting samples for histology, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunoblotting. Results demonstrated inherent defects in proliferation and migration of Ctip2 lacking keratinocytes during re-epithelialization. Mutant mice exhibited reduced epidermal proliferation, delayed keratinocyte activation, altered cell-cell adhesion and impaired ECM development. Post wounding, Ctip2ep-/- mice wounds displayed lack of E-Cadherin suppression in the migratory tongue, insufficient expression of alpha smooth muscle actin (alpha SMA) in the dermis, and robust induction of K8. Importantly, dysregulated expression of several hair follicle (HF) stem cell markers such as K15, NFATc1, CD133, CD34 and Lrig1 was observed in mutant skin during wound repair.


Results confirm a cell autonomous role of keratinocytic Ctip2 to modulate cell migration, proliferation and/or differentiation, and to maintain HF stem cells during cutaneous wounding. Furthermore, Ctip2 in a non-cell autonomous manner regulated granulation tissue formation and tissue contraction during wound closure.