Sometime the beauty is just under our eyes, as you can see with this amazing picture of a “ordinary” skin cell from Dr. Bram van den Broek and Andriy Volkov, a student in the Cell Biophysics group at The Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI). This cell (HaCaT keratinocyte) expresses an excessive amount of keratin (labeled in yellow), ans it is observed with a x40 magnification.
Keratin is an important structural protein in skin cells. The keratin fibrous network protects the cells against mechanical stress, and is involved in many other cellular functions, like cell migration and adhesion. Studying the structure, dynamics and regulation of the keratin network can reveal information about such processes. In certain types of cancer, for instance, reduced amounts of specific keratins are indicative for tumor aggressiveness.