Corneocyte proteomics: Applications to skin biology and dermatology.

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Exp Dermatol 2018 Aug; 27(8):931-938






Advances in mass spectrometry-based proteomics now permit analysis of complex cellular structures. Application to epidermis and its appendages (nail plate, hair shaft) has revealed a wealth of information about their protein profiles. The results confirm known site-specific differences in levels of certain keratins and add great depth to our knowledge of site specificity of scores of other proteins, thereby connecting anatomy and pathology. An example is the evident overlap in protein profiles of hair shaft and nail plate, helping rationalize their sharing of certain dystrophic syndromes distinct from epidermis. In addition, interindividual differences in protein level are manifest as would be expected. This approach permits characterization of altered profiles as a result of disease, where the magnitude of perturbation can be quantified and monitored during treatment. Proteomic analysis has also clarified the nature of the isopeptide cross-linked residual insoluble material after vigorous extraction with protein denaturants, nearly intractable to analysis without fragmentation. These structures, including the cross-linked envelope of epidermal corneocytes, are comprised of hundreds of protein constituents, evidence for strengthening the terminal structure complementary to disulphide bonding. Along with other developing technologies, proteomic analysis is anticipated to find use in disease risk stratification, detection, diagnosis and prognosis after the discovery phase and clinical validation.