The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 132, Issue 3, pp 201–209 | Cite as

Ion channels are linked to differentiation in keratinocytes

  • Theodora M. Mauro
  • R. Rivkah Isseroff
  • Richard Lasarow
  • Pamela A. Pappone


In vivo and in vitro, keratinocyte differentiation is linked with increased extracellular Ca2+. In order to correlate ion channels with cell differentiation and investigate keratinocyte membrane responses to Ca2+, keratinocyte single channel currents were studied using the patch-clamp technique. The most frequently observed channel was a 14 pS nonspecific cation channel. This channel was permeable to Ca2+ and activated by physiological concentrations of Ca2+. We also found a 35 pS Cl channel whose open probability increased with depolarization. Finally, a 70 pS K+ channel was seen only in cell-attached or nystatin-permeabilized patches. We correlated channel types with staining for involucrin, an early marker of keratinocyte differentiation. While the nonspecific cation channel and Cl channel were seen in both involucrin positive and involucrin negative cells, all channels in which the K+ channel activity was present were involucrin positive. Membrane currents through these channels may be one pathway by which signals for keratinocyte proliferation or differentiation are sent.

Key Words

keratinocyte patch clamp involucrin ion channels calcium 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodora M. Mauro
    • 1
  • R. Rivkah Isseroff
    • 1
  • Richard Lasarow
    • 1
  • Pamela A. Pappone
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of DermatologySchool of Medicine, University of California, DavisDavis
  2. 2.Department of Animal PhysiologyUniversity of California, DavisDavis

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