High calcium enhances the expression of double-stranded RNA sensors and antiviral activity in epidermal keratinocytes

Yuriko Yamamura, Shin Morizane, Takenobu Yamamoto, Jun Wada, Keiji Iwatsuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) sensors including TLR3, MDA5 and RIG-I are expressed in epidermal keratinocytes and play an important immunological role by enhancing various innate and adaptive immune responses. Although the role of elevated extracellular calcium concentration in keratinocyte differentiation is well understood, the effect of high calcium on dsRNA sensors is not well studied. We investigated alterations in dsRNA sensor expression and antiviral activity induced by a high extracellular concentration of calcium in epidermal keratinocytes. Normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEKs) were stimulated with high calcium and/or synthetic dsRNA, poly (I:C). TLR3, IFIH1 (MDA5) and DDX58 (RIG-I) expression were measured via qPCR, and IFN-β and human beta-defensin 2 (HBD2) levels were measured using ELISA. TLR3 localization was evaluated with immunocytofluorescence. Antiviral activity was quantified with virus plaque assays using herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). High calcium significantly upregulated mRNA expression of TLR3, IFIH1 and DDX58 in NHEKs. In addition, high calcium significantly enhanced poly (I:C)-induced anti-HSV-1 activity in NHEKs. The antiviral molecule HBD2 but not IFN-β induction by poly (I:C) was enhanced by high calcium. Our findings indicate that high levels of extracellular calcium enhance the expression of dsRNA sensors and augment antiviral activity in epidermal keratinocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • MDA5
  • RIG-I
  • calcium
  • keratinocytes
  • toll-like receptor 3
  • viral infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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