A potential biomarker for beneficial host-bacterial commensalism

Skin-derived anti-leukoproteinase (SKALP), also known as elafin or ESI, is a potent elastase inhibitor for human leukocyte elastase and porcine pancreatic elastase. Several protective functions of SKALP have been suggested since the protein was identified from human epidermis. It might provide protection to the epithelium against the breakdown of extracellular matrix due to the trafficking of PMNs and mononuclear cells; it might involve in the protection of epidermal integrity; and it might involve in cell cycle regulation and be suppressed in carcinomas.

Recently we observed in our study that the expression of SKALP in epidermis was greatly increased in an organotypic cell model after exposing to an oral commensal biofilm. The biofilm was formed under the condition that simulated healthy oral environment. We want to further investigate if the expression level of elafin in oral epithelial cells is linked to the pathogenicity of oral biofilms.

The aims of this project are 1. to establish a simple model for studding the role of SKALP in a host-microbe interaction using monolayer oral epithelial cells; 2. to examine the differential expression of SKALP in oral epithelial cells under the challenge of pathogenic and commensal biofilms.

Cell culture; ELISA, Immunostaining, Microscopy, Real-time PCR, RNA extraction; Anaerobic bacterial culturing; Biofilm formation;

Dongmei Deng