The membrane-bound serine proteases prostasin and matriptase and the Kunitz-type protease inhibitors HAI-1 and HAI-2 are all expressed in human skin and may form a tightly regulated proteolysis network, contributing to skin pathophysiology. Evidence from other systems, however, suggests that the relationship between matriptase and prostasin and between the proteases and the inhibitors can be context-dependent. In this study the in vivo zymogen activation and protease inhibition status of matriptase and prostasin were investigated in the human skin. Immunohistochemistry detected high levels of activated prostasin in the granular layer, but only low levels of activated matriptase restricted to the basal layer. Immunoblot analysis of foreskin lysates confirmed this in vivo zymogen activation status and further revealed that HAI-1 but not HAI-2 is the prominent inhibitor for prostasin and matriptase in skin. The zymogen activation status and location of the proteases does not support a close functional relation between matriptase and prostasin in the human skin. The limited role for HAI-2 in the inhibition of matriptase and prostasin is the result of its primarily intracellular localization in basal and spinous layer keratinocytes, which probably prevents the Kunitz inhibitor from interacting with active prostasin or matriptase. In contrast, the cell surface expression of HAI-1 in all viable epidermal layers renders it an effective regulator for matriptase and prostasin. Collectively, our study suggests the importance of tissue distribution and subcellular localization in the functional relationship between proteases and protease inhibitors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)