Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Protein SRF Keeps The Skin Healthy

Date:
April 2, 2009
Source:
ETH Zurich
Summary:
Researchers have determined a role for the protein SRF in the skin and found that its expression is markedly decreased in the diseased areas of skin of individuals with psoriasis.

Skin cells that have sufficient SRF have a lot of contact with neighboring cells (photo left above and below). Cells that lack this factor, however, become isolated and hardly form any more contacts.
Credit: Group under Prof. S. Werner/ETH Zurich

Sabine Werner and colleagues, at the Institute of Cell Biology, ETH Zόrich, Switzerland, have determined a role for the protein SRF in the skin and found that its expression is markedly decreased in the diseased areas of skin of individuals with psoriasis.

In the study, human skin cells known as keratinocytes were found to express high levels of SRF when healthy but only low levels when psoriatic and when wounded. Mice lacking SRF in keratinocytes during embryonic development died in utero, whereas mice in which SRF was absent in keratinocytes only after birth developed psoriasis-like skin lesions.

Without sufficient SRF, skin becomes diseased

In normal, healthy skin, the cells in the upper layer of skin (epidermal keratinocytes) produce relatively large amounts of SRF. This maintains the skin’s equilibrium. However, if there is an absence of SRF for whatever reason (due to the deletion of the corresponding gene locus “srf”, for example), lab mice develop symptoms reminiscent of psoriasis in humans. Just like psoriasis patients, “srf” knockout mice developed flaky, inflamed patches on their backs, paws and tails. In these areas, the skin cells had divided excessively and were no longer able to develop normally.

The researchers were able to demonstrate that the skeleton of the skin cells is disturbed and destroyed as a direct result of the SRF deficiency. The cells lose contact with their neighbors and the matrix that surrounds them. Consequently, the outer layer of skin loses its compact layering. Fissures form, which enables water to evaporate more easily and the skin dries out more quickly, thus making the intermediate spaces more susceptible to foreign bodies and bacteria. This in turn triggers an inflammatory reaction that induces the skin cells to divide and impairs their differentiation.

Psoriasis patients lack SRF almost entirely

Interestingly, the ETH-Zurich researchers have now discovered that the affected skin in psoriasis patients almost lacks the SRF protein entirely. Together with the results of the mouse tests, this suggests that the loss of SRF is involved in the development of the common skin disease. Like the mice, psoriasis patients develop red, inflamed patches that constantly shed squames – the necrotic skin cells. The patients thus become partially disfigured and suffer from severe itching. Ointments offer some relief, restoring the protective and barrier function of the skin and, in more severe cases, anti-inflammatory substances. The renowned spa treatment in the mineral-rich water of the Dead Sea can also alleviate the effects of the disease, but not cure it.

Trigger still unknown

The researchers still do not know which factor(s) cause(s) the down-regulation of SRF. This is a key issue which Werner’s team is set to address next. The suspects include other proteins, such as cytokines or other transcription factors. Moreover, we still do not know whether and which triggers from the environment contribute to to the down-regulation of SRF.

For a long time, the school of thought was that abnormalities in the immune system trigger psoriasis. Today, however, the research is also looking for defects in the epidermis that could be genetic or even environmental. “In the case of psoriasis, it is not always the immune system that is the trigger, but often a defect in the keratinocytes,” explains Sabine Werner.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ETH Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Heidi Koegel, Lukas von Tobel, Matthias Schδfer, Siegfried Alberti, Elisabeth Kremmer, Cornelia Mauch, Daniel Hohl, Xiao-Jing Wang, Hans-Dietmar Beer, Wilhelm Bloch, Alfred Nordheim, Sabine Werner. Loss of serum response factor in keratinocytes results in hyperproliferative skin disease in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2009; DOI: 10.1172/JCI37771

Cite This Page:

ETH Zurich. "The Protein SRF Keeps The Skin Healthy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090324213527.htm>.
ETH Zurich. (2009, April 2). The Protein SRF Keeps The Skin Healthy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090324213527.htm
ETH Zurich. "The Protein SRF Keeps The Skin Healthy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090324213527.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins