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New Role for LEKTI in Skin Barrier Formation: Label-Free Quantitative Proteomic Identification of Caspase 14 as a Novel Target for the Protease Inhibitor LEKTI

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journal contribution
posted on 06.08.2010, 00:00 by Kate Bennett, Robin Callard, Wendy Heywood, John Harper, Arumugam Jayakumar, Gary L.Clayman, Wei-Li Di, Kevin Mills
Lympho-epithelial Kazal-type-related inhibitor (LEKTI) is recognized as a serine protease inhibitor and is thought to play a key role in skin barrier function through the inhibition of kallikrein (KLK) activities and regulation of skin desquamation. LEKTI has a total of 15 potential inhibitory domains, and we hypothesize that it has other potential targets in the skin. To identify candidate protease targets of LEKTI, a label-free quantitative proteomic approach was employed. This work describes a novel, rapid, and noninvasive method for the identification and quantitation of the major proteins present in the uppermost layers of the skin. By using cells scraped from the elbow, we were able to rapidly identify and quantitate 79 proteins. Caspase 14 and bleomycin hydrolase were identified as the proteases of highest abundance. Despite the fact that caspase 14 is a cysteine protease and LEKTI is described as a serine protease inhibitor, we demonstrate that caspase 14 is inhibited by full-length LEKTI and 5 recombinant fragments of LEKTI to varied extents. Details of the development of the methods used for the creation of the skin proteome and the inhibition of caspase 14 by LEKTI and implications for LEKTI as a multifunctional protease inhibitor are discussed.