The kinase IKK1 (also known as IKKalpha) was previously reported to regulate epidermal development and skeletal morphogenesis by acting in keratinocytes to induce their differentiation in an NF-kappaB independent manner. Here, we show that mice with epidermal keratinocyte-specific IKK1 ablation (hereafter referred to as IKK1(EKO)) develop a normally differentiated stratified epidermis, demonstrating that the function of IKK1 in inducing epidermal differentiation is not keratinocyte-autonomous. Despite normal epidermal stratification, the IKK1(EKO) mice display impaired epidermal-barrier function and increased transepidermal water loss, due to defects in stratum corneum lipid composition and in epidermal tight junctions. These defects are caused by the deregulation of retinoic acid target genes, encoding key lipid modifying enzymes and tight junction proteins, in the IKK1-deficient epidermis. Furthermore, we show that IKK1-deficient cells display impaired retinoic acid-induced gene transcription, and that IKK1 is recruited to the promoters of retinoic acid-regulated genes, suggesting that one mechanism by which IKK1 controls epidermal-barrier formation is by regulating the expression of retinoic acid receptor target genes in keratinocytes.
Gareus, R., Huth, M., Breiden, B., Nenci, A., Rosch, N., Haase, I., Bloch, W., Sandhoff, K., & Pasparakis, M. (2007). Normal epidermal differentiation but impaired skin-barrier formation upon keratinocyte-restricted IKK1 ablation. Nature Cell Biology, 9(4), 461 - 469. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncb1560