Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Slash and Learn
16 April 2012

Slash and Learn

Damaged skin normally turns black and blue as it heals. But by using immunofluorescence labelling, the act of repair can look a lot more colourful. Here pictured is an ultra-thin sheet of human foreskin that has been scratched (along the very right-hand edge) and has begun to heal. The rippling pattern of colours highlights the location of three skin cell proteins that have been tagged with red, green or blue fluorescence. The amounts of these proteins fluctuate depending on how close the cell is to the wound. During skin repair two proteins (Cx43 and CASK) appear together in some cells (red and green). Where this occurs, researchers believe they are cooperatively signalling to more epithelial cells, which in return migrate towards the wound to plug the gap in the skin’s defences.

Written by Jan Piotrowski

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