Nav: Home

Protect the skin, build barriers: Old acquaintance in a new role

November 08, 2017

The epidermis, the outermost part of our skin, is our most important protection towards the outside world. Our ability to survive depends on the epidermal barrier being intact. To keep the barrier functioning, every single cell needs to know what to do. That is especially difficult in the epidermis, which constantly renews itself. The process behind it is little understood so far.

Of vital importance for building the barrier are especially tight connections between the cells. The so called tight junctions close the space between cells and control the transportation of molecules. The plan to form tight junctions can be found in every layer of the epidermis, nevertheless they are only developed in the outer layer. "Why it is like that was a mystery so far," says Matthias Rübsam first author of the study. "Using new microscopy techniques, we could show that the receptor of a well known growth factor, EGF, plays an important role in tight junction barrier formation in the epidermis. Actually, EGF is responsible for the cell division and so far was only described in the lower layers of the epidermis."

Another aspect has something to do with a more recent field of cell biology, the mechanobiology. "Similar to railway coupling, cells can feel via connections among each other whether they are under pressure or under tension," the scientist explains. "The coupling triggers a signal which regulates the receptor. The activity of the coupling mechanism, the receptor and of the barrier molecules must always be at equilibrium." Disruption of this balance could cause known skin diseases like neurodermatitis or psoriasis. The new findings that coupling mechanisms and the receptor are important for keeping the balance may explain why common anti-tumor treatments targeting the receptor have heavy side effects for the skin. With this knowledge consequences of tumor therapies could be improved.
-end-
This study using mice with defects in the skin barrier was conducted in close collaboration with researchers of the Max-Planck-Institute for Biology of Ageing (Sara Wickström), and universities in Yale (Aaron Mertz) and Tokyo (Masayuki Amagai, Akiharu Kubo). The results have been published in Nature Communications.

Original publication:

E-cadherin integrates mechanotransduction and EGFR signaling to control junctional tissue polarization and Tight Junction positioning Matthias Rübsam, Aaron F. Mertz, Akiharu Kubo, Susanna Marg, Christian Jüngst, Gladiola Goranci-Buzhala, Astrid C. Schauss, Valerie Horsley, Eric R. Dufresne, Markus Moser, Wolfgang Ziegler, Masayuki Amagai, Sara A. Wickström, and Carien M. Niessen Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01170-7

University of Cologne

Related Cell Division Articles:

Cell division: Cleaning the nucleus without detergents
A team of researchers, spearheaded by the Gerlich lab at IMBA, has uncovered how cells remove unwanted components from the nucleus following mitosis.
Genetic signature boosts protein production during cell division
A research team has uncovered a genetic signature that enables cells to adapt their protein production according to their state.
Inner 'clockwork' sets the time for cell division in bacteria
Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have discovered a 'clockwork' mechanism that controls cell division in bacteria.
Scientists detail how chromosomes reorganize after cell division
Researchers have discovered key mechanisms and structural details of a fundamental biological process--how a cell nucleus and its chromosomal material reorganizes itself after cell division.
Targeting cell division in pancreatic cancer
Study provides new evidence of synergistic effects of drugs that inhibit cell division and support for further clinical trials.
Scientists gain new insights into the mechanisms of cell division
Mitosis is the process by which the genetic information encoded on chromosomes is equally distributed to two daughter cells, a fundamental feature of all life on earth.
Cell division at high speed
When two proteins work together, this worsens the prognosis for lung cancer patients: their chances of survival are particularly poor in this case.
Cell biology: The complexity of division by two
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have identified a novel protein that plays a crucial role in the formation of the mitotic spindle, which is essential for correct segregation of a full set of chromosomes to each daughter cell during cell division.
Better together: Mitochondrial fusion supports cell division
New research from Washington University in St. Louis shows that when cells divide rapidly, their mitochondria are fused together.
Seeing is believing: Monitoring real time changes during cell division
Scientist have cast new light on the behaviour of tiny hair-like structures called cilia found on almost every cell in the body.
More Cell Division News and Cell Division Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.