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Exp Dermatol. 2018 Mar 31. doi: 10.1111/exd.13550. [Epub ahead of print]

Life before and beyond blistering: The role of collagen XVII in epidermal physiology.

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Department of Dermatology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


Type XVII collagen (COL17) is a transmembranous protein that is mainly expressed in the epidermal basal keratinocytes. Epidermal-dermal attachment requires COL17 expression at the hemidesmosomes of the epidermal basement membrane zone because congenital COL17 deficiency leads to junctional epidermolysis bullosa and acquired autoimmunity to COL17 induces bullous pemphigoid. Recently, in addition to facilitating epidermal-dermal attachment, COL17 has been reported to serve as a niche for hair follicle stem cells, to regulate proliferation in the interfollicular epidermis and to be present along the non-hemidesmosomal plasma membrane of epidermal basal keratinocytes. This review focuses on the physiological properties of COL17 in the epidermis, its role in maintaining stem cells and its association with signalling pathways. We propose possible solutions to unanswered questions in this field.


COL17A1; bullous pemphigoid; collagen XVII; epidermal stem cells; epidermolysis bullosa


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