ABSTRACT: Matriptase, a type 2 transmembrane serine protease, and its inhibitor hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor (HAI)-1 are required for normal epidermal barrier function, and matriptase activity is tightly regulated during this process. We therefore hypothesized that this protease system might be deregulated in skin disease. To test this, we examined the level and activation state of matriptase in examples of 23 human skin disorders. We first examined matriptase and HAI-1 protein distribution in normal epidermis. Matriptase was detected at high levels at cell-cell junctions in the basal layer and spinous layers but was present at minimal levels in the granular layer. HAI-1 was distributed in a similar pattern, except that high-level expression was retained in the granular layer. This pattern of expression was retained in most skin disorders. We next examined the distribution of activated matriptase. Although activated matriptase is not detected in normal epidermis, a dramatic increase is seen in keratinocytes at the site of inflammation in 16 different skin diseases. To gain further evidence that activation is associated with inflammatory stimuli, we challenged HaCaT cells with acidic pH or H(2)O(2) and observed matriptase activation. These findings suggest that inflammation-associated reactive oxygen species and tissue acidity may enhance matriptase activation in some skin diseases.
AJP Cell Physiology 12/2010; 300(3):C406-15. · 3.54 Impact Factor