Skin Metabolite, Farnesyl Pyrophosphate, Regulates Epidermal Response to Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Migration

Irena Pastar, Olivera Stojadinovic, Andrew P. Sawaya, Rivka C. Stone, Linsey E. Lindley, Nkemcho Ojeh, Sasa Vukelic, Herbert H. Samuels, Marjana Tomic-Canic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Skin produces cholesterol and a wide array of sterols and non-sterol mevalonate metabolites, including isoprenoid derivative farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP). To characterize FPP action in epidermis, we generated transcriptional profiles of primary human keratinocytes treated with zaragozic acid (ZGA), a squalene synthase inhibitor that blocks conversion of FPP to squalene resulting in endogenous accumulation of FPP. The elevated levels of intracellular FPP resulted in regulation of epidermal differentiation and adherens junction signaling, insulin growth factor (IGF) signaling, oxidative stress response and interferon (IFN) signaling. Immunosuppressive properties of FPP were evidenced by STAT-1 downregulation and prominent suppression of its nuclear translocation by IFNγ. Furthermore, FPP profoundly downregulated genes involved in epidermal differentiation of keratinocytes in vitro and in human skin ex vivo. Elevated levels of FPP resulted in induction of cytoprotective transcriptional factor Nrf2 and its target genes. We have previously shown that FPP functions as ligand for the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), one of the major regulator of epidermal homeostasis. Comparative microarray analyses show significant but not complete overlap between FPP and glucocorticoid regulated genes, suggesting that FPP may have wider transcriptional impact. This was further supported by co-transfection and chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments where we show that upon binding to GR, FPP recruits β-catenin and, unlike glucocorticoids, recruits co-repressor GRIP1 to suppress keratin 6 gene. These findings have many clinical implications related to epidermal lipid metabolism, response to glucocorticoid therapy as well as pleiotropic effects of cholesterol lowering therapeutics, statins. J. Cell. Physiol. 231: 2452–2463, 2016.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2452-2463
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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