K6PC-5, a direct activator of sphingosine kinase 1, promotes epidermal differentiation through intracellular CA2+ signaling

Jeong Hee Hong, Jong Kyung Youm, Mi Jung Kwon, Byeong Deog Park, Yong Moon Lee, Syng Ill Lee, Dong Min Shin, Seung Hun Lee

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a bioactive sphingolipid metabolite, regulates multiple cellular responses such as Ca2+ signaling, growth, survival, and differentiation. Because sphingosine kinase (SphK) is the enzyme directly responsible for production of S1P, many factors have been identified that regulate its activity and subsequent S1P levels. Here we synthesized a previously unidentified SphK activator, K6PC-5, and have studied its effects on intracellular Ca2+ signaling in HaCaT cells and epidermal differentiation in murine skin. K6PC-5, a hydrophobic compound chemically named N-(1,3-dihydroxyisopropyl)-2-hexyl-3-oxo-decanamide, activated SphK (obtained from C57BL/6 murine blood and F9-12 cell lysates) in a dose-dependent manner. K6PC-5 induced both intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca 2+]i) oscillations in HaCaT cells and Ca2+ mobilization in hairless mouse epidermis. Both dimethylsphingosine (DMS) and dihydroxysphingosine (DHS), SphK inhibitors, and transfection of SphK1-siRNA blocked K6PC-5-induced increases in [Ca2+]i. The K6PC-5-induced [Ca2+]i oscillations were dependent on thapsigargin-sensitive Ca2+ stores and Ca2+ entry, but independent of the classical phospholipase C-mediated pathway. In addition, K6PC-5 enhanced the expression of involucrin and filaggrin, specific differentiation-associated marker proteins in HaCaT cells, whereas transfection of SphK1-siRNA blocked the increase of involucrin. Topical K6PC-5 also enhanced the expression of involucrin, loricrin, filaggrin, and keratin 5 in intact murine epidermis. Finally, topical K6PC-5 inhibited epidermal hyperplasia by exerting antiproliferative effects on keratinocytes in murine epidermis. These results suggest that K6PC-5 acts to regulate both differentiation and proliferation of keratinocytes via [Ca2+]i responses through S1P production. Thus, regulation of S1P levels may represent a novel approach for treatment of skin disorders characterized by abnormal differentiation and proliferation, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2166-2178
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Sept

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from Regional Industrial Technology Development Program (10012509), which is managed by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, Republic of Korea, and was supported by a Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) grants funded by the Korean government (MOST) (no. R01-2006-000-10478 and R11-2007-040-02003-0). We appreciate Dr Akio Kihara and Dr Yasuyuki Iagarashi at Hokkaido University, Japan, for providing us mouse embryonic carcinoma F9-12 cells. We thank Dr Walt Holleran at UC San Francisco for his critical review and discussions.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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