Kallikrein-related peptidase 6 orchestrates astrocyte form and function through proteinase activated receptor-dependent mechanisms

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Kallikrein-related peptidase 6 (Klk6) is the most abundant serine proteinase in the adult central nervous system (CNS), yet we know little regarding its physiological roles or mechanisms of action. Levels of Klk6 in the extracellular environment are dynamically regulated in CNS injury and disease positioning this secreted enzyme to affect cell behavior by potential receptor dependent and independent mechanisms. Here we show that recombinant Klk6 evokes increases in intracellular Ca2+ in primary astrocyte monolayer cultures through activation of proteinase activated receptor 1 (PAR1). In addition, Klk6 promoted a condensation of astrocyte cortical actin leading to an elongated stellate shape and multicellular aggregation in a manner that was dependent on the presence of either PAR1 or PAR2. Klk6-evoked changes in astrocyte shape were accompanied by translocation of β-catenin from the plasma membrane to the cytoplasm. These data are exciting because they demonstrate that Klk6 can influence astrocyte plasticity through receptor-dependent mechanisms. Furthermore, this study expands our understanding of the mechanisms by which kallikreins can contribute to neural homeostasis and remodeling and point to both PAR1 and PAR2 as new therapeutic targets to modulate astrocyte form and function.

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