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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Profilaggrin requires both linker and filaggrin peptide sequences to form granules: implications for profilaggrin processing in vivo.

Filaggrin is an intermediate filament associated protein that aids the packing of keratin filaments during terminal differentiation of keratinocytes. Premature aggregation of keratin filaments is prevented by filaggrin expression as the inactive precursor, profilaggrin, which is localized in keratohyalin granules in vivo. Profilaggrin is phosphorylated and contains multiple filaggrin repeats separated by a hydrophobic linker peptide. We have previously shown that filaggrin constructs containing the linker, when transiently transfected into epithelial cells, lead to expression of a protein that resembles keratohyalin (Dale et al. J Invest Dermatol 108:179-187 1997). To characterize further the region(s) of the linker and/or filaggrin that are necessary for granule formation, we generated several mutant constructs from Flag-FG-1, and generated fusions of filaggrin with green fluorescent protein. We also subjected profilaggrin to protein phosphatase 2A treatment and measured its subsequent solubility. We found that granular morphology is not dependent on the linker or conserved phosphorylation sites, nor is solubility affected by protein phosphatase 2A treatment. Granule morphology was abrogated only in a truncated construct, which still contains the linker. A construct consisting of 16 amino acids of filaggrin fused to green fluorescent protein led to rounded and bizarrely shaped transfected cells with compact keratin filaments, suggesting that very little filaggrin sequence is required for keratin filament interaction. Radiolabeled filaggrin-green fluorescent protein constructs specifically bound keratin in overlay assays confirming that the observed cytoskeletal collapse is due to filaggrin-keratin interaction. Our findings indicate that profilaggrin must be extensively processed before it loses both its granule forming ability as well as its insolubility, suggesting that granule formation in vivo correlates with insolubility in vitro. Further, filaggrin retains its ability to bind keratin as it is degraded to smaller peptides.[1]


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