King's College London

Research portal

Contribution of GATA6 to homeostasis of the human upper pilosebaceous unit and acne pathogenesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bénédicte Oulès, Christina Philippeos, Joe Segal, Matthieu Tihy, Matteo Vietri Rudan, Ana-Maria Cujba, Philippe A Grange, Sven Quist, Ken Natsuga, Lydia Deschamps, Nicolas Dupin, Giacomo Donati, Fiona M Watt

Original languageEnglish
Article number5067
Pages (from-to)5067
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Published1 Dec 2020

King's Authors


Although acne is the most common human inflammatory skin disease, its pathogenic mechanisms remain incompletely understood. Here we show that GATA6, which is expressed in the upper pilosebaceous unit of normal human skin, is down-regulated in acne. GATA6 controls keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation to prevent hyperkeratinisation of the infundibulum, which is the primary pathological event in acne. When overexpressed in immortalised human sebocytes, GATA6 triggers a junctional zone and sebaceous differentiation program whilst limiting lipid production and cell proliferation. It modulates the immunological repertoire of sebocytes, notably by upregulating PD-L1 and IL10. GATA6 expression contributes to the therapeutic effect of retinoic acid, the main treatment for acne. In a human sebaceous organoid model GATA6-mediated down-regulation of the infundibular differentiation program is mediated by induction of TGFβ signalling. We conclude that GATA6 is involved in regulation of the upper pilosebaceous unit and may be an actionable target in the treatment of acne.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454