Back in the lab post COVID and Dr Lee Troughton has been on the confocal microscope grabbing some cool pics of corneal epithelial keratinocytes assembling cell to matrix adhesions.
Most of these images are of hemidesomosome proteins (integrin b4, collagen XVII, BPAG1e) or laminin 332. Hemidesmosomes are the points of attachment for where sheets of epithelia attach to the non-cellular material underneath. You can learn more about them here and here.
The questions Lee has been asking in these studies are about how these structures form, and how one of our favourite proteins, LaNt a31, influences their formation. Answering these questions has important implications for tissue homeostasis in general, but is particularly relevant to the cornea as defective formation of hemidesmosomes leads to recurrent corneal erosions.
Interested in the science? We’ve uploaded a pre-print of the manuscript that these studies were part of available here (preprint).
Want to see some more cool pics? Check out some of our previous “you can see a lot by looking” posts