The keratin-desmosome scaffold of internal epithelia in health and disease - The plot is thickening

Diana M Toivola, Lauri Polari, Tobias Schwerd, Nicolas Schlegel, Pavel Strnad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article or Literature Reviewpeer-review

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Keratin (K) intermediate filaments are attached to desmosomes and constitute the orchestrators of epithelial cell and tissue architecture. While their relevance in the epidermis is well recognized, our review focuses on their emerging importance in internal epithelia. The significance of keratin-desmosome scaffolds (KDSs) in the intestine is highlighted by transgenic mouse models and individuals with inflammatory bowel disease who display profound KDS alterations. In lung, high K8 expression defines a transitional cell subset during regeneration, and K8 variants are associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Inherited variants in desmosomal proteins are overrepresented in idiopathic lung fibrosis, and familiar eosinophilic esophagitis. K18 serum fragments are established hepatocellular injury markers that correlate with the extent of histological inflammation. K17 expression is modified in multiple tumors, and K17 levels might be of prognostic relevance. These data should spur further studies on biological roles of these versatile tissue protectors and efforts on their therapeutic targeting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102282
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cell Biology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


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