Without an epidermis, we would be in a sorry state. The epidermal layer not only protects us from environmental pathogens but also acts as a 'barrier' to water loss. The identification of the molecular nature of the barrier has occupied the efforts of skin researchers over many years, with the consensus in the field being that a protein-lipid layer, located in the upper layers of the epidermis, is necessary for establishment and maintenance of a water barrier. Now, evidence has been presented that components of intercellular junctions, termed tight junctions, also play an essential role in development of barrier function in the skin. Remarkably, the data support a hypothesis that was presented more than 30 years ago.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology