FOXO1 Promotes Wound Healing Through the Up-Regulation of TGF-β1 and Prevention of Oxidative Stress
Keratinocyte mobilization is a critical aspect of wound re-epithelialization, but the mechanisms that control its precise regulation remain poorly understood. We set out to test the hypothesis that forkhead box O1 (FOXO1) has a negative effect on healing because of its capacity to inhibit proliferation and promote apoptosis. Contrary to expectations, FOXO1 is required for keratinocyte transition to a wound-healing phenotype that involves increased migration and up-regulation of transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) and its downstream targets, integrin-α3 and -β6 and MMP-3 and -9. Furthermore, we show that FOXO1 functions in keratinocytes to reduce oxidative stress, which is necessary to maintain cell migration and prevent cell death in a TGF-β1–independent manner. Thus, our studies identify a novel function for FOXO1 in coordinating the response of keratinocytes to wounding through up-regulation of TGF-β1 and other factors needed for keratinocyte migration and protection against oxidative stress, which together promote migration and decrease apoptosis.