Using biochemical and immunocytochemical approaches, we have investigated the plasminogen activator (PA) of primary human epidermal cell cultures. A rabbit antibody raised against human urinary PA (urokinase) inhibited ≥96% of the PA activity in the keratinocyte cultures. Immunoblot and double immunodiffusion analyses of keratinocyte PA with anti-urokinase antibody confirmed that epidermal PA was of the urokinase type. Immunocytochemical investigation of human keratinocyte cultures with anti-urokinase antibody revealed two characteristic staining patterns for PA. First, cells at the advancing edge of subconfluent colonies were cytoplasmically stained in a granular pattern. Similar staining was observed at the migrating edges of confluent epidermal cell cultures that had been wounded by cutting with a blade. This induction of PA staining was independent of cell division. Secondly, differentiated epidermal cells located on the surface of colonies were stained either at the plasma membrane or homogeneously throughout the cell. The highly differentiated, spontaneously shed cells were usually very heavily stained by anti-urokinase antibody. These immunocytochemical experiments suggest that PA expression is highly regulated in human epidermal cells. Specifically, PA expression appears to be related to cellular differentiation and to cell movement in expanding or wounded keratinocyte colonies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology