Kalailingam, P., Tan, H.B., Jain, N. et al. Conditional knock out of N-WASP in keratinocytes causes skin barrier defects and atopic dermatitis-like inflammation. Sci Rep 7, 7311 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-07125-8
Neural-Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome Protein (N-WASP) is expressed ubiquitously and regulates actin cytoskeleton remodeling. In order to characterize the role of N-WASP in epidermal homeostasis and cutaneous biology, we generated conditional N-WASP knockout mouse using CK14-cre (cytokeratin 14) to ablate expression of N-WASP in keratinocytes. N-WASPK14KO (N-WASP fl/fl ; CK14-Cre) mice were born following Mendelian genetics suggesting that N-WASP expression in keratinocytes is not essential during embryogenesis. N-WASPK14KO mice exhibited stunted growth, alopecia, dry and wrinkled skin. The dry skin in N-WASPK14KO mice is probably due to increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL) caused by barrier function defects as revealed by dye penetration assay. N-WASPK14KO mice developed spontaneous inflammation in the neck and face 10 weeks after birth. Histological staining revealed thickening of the epidermis, abnormal cornified layer and extensive infiltration of immune cells (mast cells, eosinophils and T-lymphocytes) in N-WASPK14KO mice skin compared to control mice. N-WASPK14KO mice had higher serum levels of IL-1α, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-17 compared to control mice. Thus our results suggest that conditional N-WASP knockout in keratinocytes leads to compromised skin barrier, higher infiltration of immune cells and hyperproliferation of keratinocytes due to increased production of cytokines highlighting the importance of N-WASP in maintaining the skin homeostasis.
This work was supported by the Tier-2 research grant (MOE2013-T2-2-031), Ministry of Education, Singapore and AcRF Tier 1 grant (RG46/13). Antibody against CK14 were a kind gift from Prof. Birgit Lane. We would like thank Prof. Mark Featherstone for critical reading of the manuscript.