Statins downregulate K6a promoter activity: a possible therapeutic avenue for pachyonychia congenita

Yiwei Zhao, Ulrike Gartner, Frances J. D. Smith, W. H. Irwin McLean

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    42 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Pachyonychia congenita (PC) is a keratinizing disorder predominantly caused by mutations in keratin 6a (K6a) (similar to 50% of cases) or K6b, K16, or K17. One means of treating PC is identification of small-molecule inhibitors of PC-related keratins. Here, we cloned the human K6a promoter, and using a cell-based reporter gene assay, a chemical library was screened for K6a inhibitors. One compound, compactin, the precursor of all cholesterol-lowering statins, was of particular interest. We found that, surprisingly, simvastatin and other statins inhibit K6a promoter activity and K6a protein expression. Further investigation showed that this effect works through cholesterol/mevalonate pathway inhibition rather than an off-target effect. Inhibition of both basal and IFN-gamma-inducible K6a expression by statins was demonstrated. Both these K6a inhibitory effects were found to be mediated by Stat1 transcription factor, but only the IFN-gamma-inducible promoter activity was controlled via the Stat/JAK pathway. The repressive effect of statins was found to be mediated by the isoprenoid pathway downstream of mevalonate (the intermediate following 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase) but upstream of cholesterol, specifically the geranylgeranylation pathway. These data set the scene for further unraveling signaling pathways that control the K6a promoter, as well as facilitating clinical trials for statins in PC patients.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1045-1052
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
    Volume131
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2011

    Keywords

    • ANTIOXIDANT RESPONSE ELEMENT
    • GENE-EXPRESSION
    • CONSENSUS SEQUENCE
    • RETINOIC ACID
    • KERATIN K6
    • THYROID-HORMONE
    • GAMMA
    • IDENTIFICATION
    • ACTIVATION
    • RECEPTORS

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