RRC ID 57647
Author Fujimoto S, Hayashi R, Hara S, Sasamoto Y, Harrington J, Tsujikawa M, Nishida K.
Title KLF4 prevents epithelial to mesenchymal transition in human corneal epithelial cells via endogenous TGF-β2 suppression.
Journal Regen Ther
Abstract Introduction:Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) is considered one of the Yamanaka factors, and recently, we and others have shown that KLF4 is one of the transcription factors essential for reprogramming non-human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs) into HCECs. Since epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) suppression is vital for homeostasis of HCECs via regulation of transcription factors, in this study, we aimed to investigate whether KLF4 prevents EMT in HCECs and to elucidate the underlying mechanism within the canonical TGF-β signalling pathway, which is involved in corneal epithelial wound healing.
Methods:HCECs were collected from cadaver donors and cultivated. We generated KLF4-knockdown (KD) HCECs using siRNA transfection and analysed morphology, gene or protein expression, and endogenous TGF-β secretion. KLF4 was overexpressed using lentiviral KLF4 expression vectors and underwent protein expression analyses after TGF-β2 treatment.
Results:KLF4-KD HCECs showed a fibroblastic morphology, downregulation of the epithelial markers, keratin 12 and keratin 14, and upregulation of the mesenchymal markers, fibronectin 1, vimentin, N-cadherin, and SLUG. Although E-cadherin expression remained unchanged in KLF4-KD HCECs, immunocytochemical analysis showed that E-cadherin-positive adherens junctions decreased in KLF4-KD HCECs as well as the decreased total protein levels of E-cadherin analysed by immunoblotting. Moreover, within the TGF-β canonical signalling pathway, TGF-β2 secretion by HCECs increased up to 5 folds, and several TGF-β-associated markers (TGFB1, TGFB2, TGFBR1, and TGFBR2) were significantly upregulated up to 6 folds in the KLF4-KD HCECs. SMAD2/3, the main signal transduction molecules of the TGF-β signalling pathway, were found to be localised in the nucleus of KLF4-KD HCECs. When KLF4 was overexpressed, cultivated HCECs showed upregulation of epithelial markers, keratin 14 and E-cadherin, indicating the contributory role of KLF4 in the homeostasis of human corneal epithelium in vivo. In addition, KLF4 overexpression in HCECs resulted in decreased SMAD2 phosphorylation and altered nuclear localisation of SMAD2/3, even after TGF-β2 treatment.
Conclusions:These results show that KLF4 prevents EMT in HCECs and suggest a novel role of KLF4 as an endogenous TGF-β2 suppressor in the human corneal epithelium, thus highlighting the potential of KLF4 to prevent EMT and subsequent corneal fibrotic scar formation by attenuating TGF-β signalling.
Volume 11
Pages 249-257
Published 2019-12-1
DOI 10.1016/j.reth.2019.08.003
PII S2352-3204(19)30075-6
PMID 31538102
PMC PMC6745437
IF 1.344
Times Cited 0
DNA material CSIV-CMV-MCS-IRES2-Venus (RDB08257) pCMV-VSV-G-RSV-Rev (RDB04393) pCAG-HIVgp (RDB04394)