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J Cell Biol. 2003 Oct 27;163(2):327-37. Epub 2003 Oct 20.

Loss of keratin 6 (K6) proteins reveals a function for intermediate filaments during wound repair.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

Abstract

The ability to heal wounds is vital to all organisms. In mammalian tissues, alterations in intermediate filament (IF) gene expression represent an early reaction of cells surviving injury. We investigated the role of keratin IFs during the epithelialization of skin wounds using a keratin 6alpha and 6beta (K6alpha/K6beta)-null mouse model. In skin explant culture, null keratinocytes exhibit an enhanced epithelialization potential due to increased migration. The extent of the phenotype is strain dependent, and is accompanied by alterations in keratin IF and F-actin organization. However, in wounded skin in vivo, null keratinocytes rupture as they attempt to migrate under the blood clot. Fragility of the K6alpha/K6beta-null epidermis is confirmed when applying trauma to chemically treated skin. We propose that the alterations in IF gene expression after tissue injury foster a compromise between the need to display the cellular pliability necessary for timely migration and the requirement for resilience sufficient to withstand the rigors of a wound site.

PMID:
14568992
PMCID:
PMC2173512
DOI:
10.1083/jcb.200305032
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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