Newly isolated protein plays a role in skin cell differentiation


A newly discovered protein in the skin could be a target for new gene therapies for psoriasis and other skin conditions that involve abnormal differentiation.

In a paper published online in The EMBO Journal (Dec. 20, 2018:e98449), describe the new find as a novel low molecular weight form of a larger molecule—JARID2.

JARID2 was previously thought to be only present in developing embryos, where it has a role in coordinating the formation of tissues and organs.

The investigating team, led by Aditi Kanhere, PhD, found the shortened form of JARID2 in adult human skin cells, which the researchers named ΔN-JARID2. They showed it is responsible for ensuring these skin cells differentiate properly.

Dr. Kanhere is a group leader from the University of Birmingham’s School of Biosciences in Birmingham, U.K.

“In some diseases, cells lose their ability to differentiate, and reproduce more rapidly. Being able to redirect cells back to their usual life cycle could alleviate the processes behind the disease,” said Dr. Kanhere, in a press release.

The research team is now investigating how ΔN-JARID2 is generated and its wider implication in disease, and there are hopes that this discovery will ultimately lead to novel therapies for skin conditions.

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