The closure of skin wounds is essential for resistance against microbial pathogens, and keratinecyte migration is an important step in skin wound healing. Cathelicidin hCAP18/LL-37 is an innate antimicrobial peptide that is expressed in the skin and acts to eliminate microbial pathogens. Because hCAP18/LL-37 is up-regulated at skin wound sites, we hypothesized that LL-37 induces keratinocyte migration. In this study, we found that 1 μg/ml LL-37 induced the maximum level of keratinocyte migration in the Boyden chamber assay. In addition, LL-37 phosphorylated the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) after 10 min, which suggests that LL-37-induced keratinocyte migration occurs via EGFR transactivation. To test this assumption, we used inhibitors that block the sequential steps of EGFR transactivation, such as OSU8-1, CRM197, anti-EGFR no. 225 Ab, and AG1478. All of these inhibitors completely blocked LL-37-induced keratinocyte migration, which indicates that migration occurs via HB-EGF-mediated EGFR transactivation. Furthermore, CRM197, anti-EGFR no. 225, and AG1478 blocked the LL-37-induced phosphorylation of STAT3, and transfection with a dominant-negative mutant of STAT3 abolished LL-37-induced keratinocyte migration, indicating the involvement of the STAT3 pathway downstream of EGFR transactivation. Finally, we tested whether the suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)/cytokine-inducible Src homology 2-containing protein (CIS) family of negative regulators of STAT3 regulates LL-37-induced keratinocyte migration. Transfection with SOCS1/Jak2 binding protein or SOCS3/CIS3 almost completely abolished LL-37-induced keratinocyte migration. In conclusion, LL-37 induces keratinocyte migration via heparin-binding-EGF-mediated transactivation of EGFR, and SOCS1/Jak2 binding and SOCS3/CIS3 negatively regulate this migration. The results of this study suggest that LL-37 closes skin wounds by the induction of keratinocyte migration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy