This project will examine a new group of signaling proteins and their effects on patients suffering from psoriasis.
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Keratinocytes are the main cell type present in the skin. Development of healthy skin requires that expansion of cell numbers is closely controlled and maintained in balance with other processes. These processes are normally regulated by hormones or the environment carried within the cell by specific signaling pathways. Disturbances in signaling can lead to altered levels of cell growth and survival, which in turn leads to abnormal skin development and loss of normal protective functions as seen in diseases such as psoriasis. Psoriasis is a common skin disorder affecting about 2% of the UK‚Äôs population. It occurs equally in men and women, at any age, and tends to come and go unpredictably. Patches of psoriasis are red but covered with silvery white scales and can itch, with painful splits forming within it. The main problem with psoriasis for many people lies in the way it looks, and the way it attracts comments from others. This can affect their quality of life. The lead researcher‚Äôs laboratory has identified a new group of signaling proteins previously unknown in humans. These proteins are variants of a gene called SGK1. One of the SGK1 variants can activate a key regulator of growth and survival termed NFkB. Signals mediated by NFkB are very important in controlling keratinocyte fate. This grant will allow the research team to investigate whether the SGK1 variants they have identified can regulate this signaling process in cultured keratinocytes and skin and to see if they are altered in patients suffering from psoriasis. This could eventually allow the development of drugs to improve the lives of those suffering from this debilitating condition. This year long project will cost ¬£¬£9,860, which will cover the cost of the consumables and technical support.
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