At just a few millimetres thick, our skin protects us from all manner of things: infection, dehydration and more. But what protects our skin? Researchers hone in on two genes – Dmnt3a (green) and Dmnt3b – that are implicated in cancer, taking a look at what they do in skin. They looked at the skin of mice, which had been genetically tweaked to lack one or both of these genes. Under normal conditions, there wasn't any difference from regular mouse skin (pictured). However when the mice were exposed to a chemical that causes cancer, differences soon became apparent. Skin lacking Dmnt3a, but not Dmnt3b, formed more tumours than normal skin. These tumours however didn't spread. Skin lacking both genes not only had more tumours but these tumours were also more aggressive and able to spread. Dmnt3a and Dmnt3b therefore team up to protect our skin from the ravages of cancer.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.