Keratin is a key component of our skin, hair and nails, and more in-depth research has shown that it takes on other important roles in our cells. Scientists interrupted the normal occurrence of a keratin protein, Krt76, in the skin of a mouse (pictured dyed pink in a hair follicle), but found that this also affected a gene called Cldn1 in the tight junctions – which hold cells together. Skin flaking, hyperpigmentation, inflammation of the skin, and defective wound healing – where skin or tissue can’t repair itself after an injury – were some of the symptoms seen after this disruption. The interaction between Krt76 and Cldn1 is therefore crucial for maintaining the integrity of the skin. Additional research into this new finding will help to further our understanding of skin diseases.
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