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Skin Barrier Adaptation Out-of-Africa

The de Guzman Strong lab discovered recent evolution in the epidermis as humans migrated out-of-Africa.  An enhancer allele for increased involucrin (Ivl) underwent a near selective sweep in European populations compared to those in Africa. We further discovered that Ivl regulates Vitamin D receptor (Vdr) activity in the epidermis. Our group is actively working on determining the mechanisms by which the IVL/VDR regulatory axis facilitates skin barrier adaptation out-of-Africa using multi-omics strategies and functional assays in mice and primary human keratinocytes.

Selected Publications

1. Schmidt AD, Miciano C et al. Involucrin modulates Vitamin D receptor activity in the epidermis. J Invest Dermatol. 2023;
2. Mathyer ME*, Brettmann E.* et al. Selective sweep for an enhancer involucrin allele identifies skin barrier adaptation out of Africa. Nat Commun. 2021; 12(1): 2557. *denotes co-first authors.

3. Oh IY, Albea DM et al. Regulation of the dynamic chromatin architecture of the Epidermal Differentiation Complex is mediated by a c-Jun/AP-1-modulated enhancer. J Invest Dermatol. 2014 Sept; 134(9): 2371-80.

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