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Factor for acquiring skin barrier function identified

he skin looked different from that of normal mice.

The skin is continuously regenerating, with new epidermal cells emerging from an underlying proliferative layer and migrating through several upper layers before reaching the skin surface. When underlying cells reach the granular layer, they make a specialized protein coat called the cornified envelope, which acts as a scaffold on which fat molecules assemble to form a sealed barrier. "In the Klf4 knockout mice, the cornified envelope looks immature," Segre says. "Instead of looking round and plump, they are fragile and crumpled."

Additionally, the fat layer, which forms the sealed barrier, was broken in mice lacking Klf4.

"Because the cornified envelope scaffold is malformed, the fat layer doesn't have a smooth surface to bond to. Its like a trying to build a flat highway on a broken surface--it just doesn't work," explains Segre.

The research was funded by the Damen Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


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Contact: Sharon Parmet
sparmet@mcis.bsd.uchicago.edu
773-702-6241
University of Chicago Medical Center
3-Aug-1999


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