Pemphigoid, pemphigus and desmoplakin as antigenic markers of differentiation in normal and tumorigenic mouse keratinocyte lines

M. Kulesz‐Martin, P. Kozlowski, I. Glurich, B. Lisafeld, E. Hemedinger, V. Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Abstract The expression of differentiation stages in a murine epidermal cell transformation model has been investigated as a basis for studies of chemically‐induced differentiation. Antibodies in sera of patients with the autoimmune diseases bullous pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris exhibit specific reactivity to antigenic determinants of basal and spinous cells, respectively, in sections of mouse and human epidermis. In addition, spinous cells in epidermis are reactive with a mouse monoclonal antibody to desmoplakin, a desmosomal component immunologically distinct from pemphigus. These antibodies were used to identify and attempt to quantify keratinocyte subpopulations in culture based on differentiation stage. Epidermal cell lines were cultured under conditions which favour proliferation (0.02 to 0.04 mm extracellular Ca2+, i.e. low Ca2+ conditions) or differentiation (0.1 mM to 1.4 mM Ca2+), as previously shown using primary cultures of mouse keratinocytes. Two independently‐derived normal keratinocyte lines demonstrated Ca2+‐dependent reactivity with pemphigoid and pemphigus antiserum, like that which has been observed in primary cultures. Furthermore, a Ca2+ and time‐dependent reactivity with the three antisera was also observed in a papilloma cell line (derived from one of the normal cell lines after treatment in vitro with 7,12‐dimethylbenz[α]anthracene). Papilloma cells cultured under conditions of low extracellular Ca2+ were comprised of three subpopulations: cells reactive only with pemphigoid anti‐serum, cells reactive with pemphigoid and desmoplakin antibody (intracellular location), and cells reactive only with desmoplakin antibody. However, like the normal cell lines, papilloma cells underwent a transition to predominantly a spinous cell population (i.e. reactive with pemphigus and desmoplakin antibody) in response to extracellular Ca2+. A slower loss of pemphigoid antibody reactivity was noted in papilloma cells, consistent with an abnormal regulation of differentiation. The attempt to characterize these dynamic transitions from basal to spinous cell subpopulations in culture was considered to be prerequisite for the use of the model to investigate differentiation‐inducing agents in carcinoma therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-290
Number of pages12
JournalCell Proliferation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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