- β-Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) cause near ubiquitous latent skin infection within long-lived hair follicle (HF) keratinocyte stem cells. In patients with epidermodysplasia verruciformis, β-HPV viral replication is associated with skin keratosis and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. To determine the role of HF keratinocyte stem cells in β-HPV-induced skin carcinogenesis, we utilized a transgenic mouse model in which the keratin 14 promoter drives expression of the entire HPV8 early region (HPV8tg).
- The cell cycle-related genes AURKA and FOXM1 are overexpressed in melanoma. We show here that AURKA overexpression is associated with poor prognosis in three independent cohorts of melanoma patients and correlates with the presence of genomic amplification of AURKA locus and BRAFV600E mutation. AURKA overexpression may also be driven by increased promoter activation through elements such as ETS and FOXM1 found within the 5′ proximal promoter region. Activated MAPK/ERK signaling pathway mediates robust AURKA promoter activation, thereby knockdown of BRAFV600E and ERK inhibition results in reduced AURKA transcription and expression.
- Vitiligo is a disfiguring skin disease in which melanocytes with intrinsic abnormalities are targeted and destroyed by autoreactive CD8+ T cells in the epidermis, resulting in patchy depigmentation (Palermo et al., 2001; van den Boorn et al., 2009, and reviewed in Richmond et al., 2013). Although it is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, affecting 1% of the population worldwide, there are no Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments. Previous work from our lab has shown that CD8+ T-cell recruitment to the skin in a mouse model of vitiligo is dependent on IFNγ (Harris et al., 2012) and the downstream CXCR3 chemokine system (Rashighi et al., 2014).
- Next-generation sequencing of melanomas has unraveled critical driver genes and genomic abnormalities, mostly defined as occurring at high frequency. In addition, less abundant mutations are present that link melanoma to a set of disorders, commonly called RASopathies. These disorders, which include neurofibromatosis and Noonan and Legius syndromes, harbor germline mutations in various RAS/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway genes. We highlight shared amino acid substitutions between this set of RASopathy mutations and those observed in large-scale melanoma sequencing data, uncovering a significant overlap.
- Common birthmarks can be an indicator of underlying genetic disease but are often overlooked. Mongolian blue spots (dermal melanocytosis) are usually localized and transient, but they can be extensive, permanent, and associated with extracutaneous abnormalities. Co-occurrence with vascular birthmarks defines a subtype of phakomatosis pigmentovascularis, a group of syndromes associated with neurovascular, ophthalmological, overgrowth, and malignant complications. Here, we discover that extensive dermal melanocytosis and phakomatosis pigmentovascularis are associated with activating mutations in GNA11 and GNAQ, genes that encode Gα subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins.
- Inflammasomes are immune complexes that induce an inflammatory response upon sensing of different stress signals. This effect is mainly mediated by activation and secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines proIL-1β and -18. Here we report that infection of human primary keratinocytes with the double-stranded DNA viruses modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) or herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-induced secretion of mature IL-1β and -18. This secretion was dependent on several inflammasome complexes; however, the absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) inflammasome, which is activated by binding of double-stranded DNA, played the most important role.