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Keratins Contribute to Cell Stiffness

Research group demonstrates function of an entire group of proteins

Jülich, 29 October 2013 – For years, scientists had suspected what researchers from Jülich, Leipzig, and Aachen have now succeeded in demonstrating: keratins, an important group of structural proteins, ensure that cells are sufficiently stable. This lends skin and gland tissue, for example, the necessary firmness and elasticity. The scientists isolated and analysed genetically modified epidermal cells – known as keratinocytes – from mouse embryos. The results have now been published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). The new findings could help to explain genetic skin diseases such as epidermolysis bullosa, which is also know as the butterfly disease.

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