Retinoic acid (RA) is known to have a profound effect on the growth and differentiation of human epidermal cells in vivo and in vitro. One of the proteins thought to be involved in mediating the action of RA is the cellular retinoic acid-binding protein (CRABP). We have used PCR technology to generate cDNAs for two distinct CRABPs from human skin and skin-derived cells. One is highly homologous to the CRABP I cDNAs previously cloned from bovine and murine sources. The second shares extensive deduced amino acid homology with CRABP II, a protein recently described in newborn rat and embryonic chick. Although both mRNAs can be detected in neonatal foreskin, CRABP II mRNA is the predominant one in this tissue, as well as in cultured new-born fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Northern blot analysis showed CRABP II mRNA level was only slightly reduced by addition of 10-6 or 10-5 MRA to cultures of neonatal foreskin-derived fibroblasts, as was the CRABP I mRNA level in cultured human gut epithelial cells. In contrast, expression of CRABP II mRNA by cultured neonatal keratinocytes was strongly downregulated by RA. We conclude that CRABP II is the predominant CRABP in human skin, at least in the new-born period, and that it is differentially regulated in fibroblasts versus keratinocytes. Our data are consistent with a role for CRABP in regulating the amount of RA delivered to the nucleus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology