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How Key Genes Cooperate to Make Healthy Skin

Scientists from Berkeley Lab, the University of Bradford, and Boston University discover a crucial connection in skin formation

 

Skin is the body’s armor, protecting us from disease agents, injury, excessive water loss, and cold and heat. Yet mutations in a single gene, the gene for the protein p63, cause numerous diseases and malformations of the uppermost layer of skin – the epidermis – and other tissues. In the epidermis, these range from skin cancers to dysplasias that cause cracking, bleeding, infection, and discoloration.

A research team from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and spearheaded by colleagues from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, including members from Boston University, has learned that p63 acts by directly regulating another protein, Satb1, which is a “genome organizer” – it controls gene expression in progenitor cells by temporarily remodeling chromatin, the structure that makes up the chromosomes and contains tightly wound DNA.

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