Laboratory of Skin Biology

Maria I. Morasso, Ph.D.
Chief, Laboratory of Skin Biology
Phone: (301) 402-2888
Fax: (301) 435-7910

The skin functions as a barrier that protects the body from the external environment and excessive water loss. Barrier function is established through a multi-stage differentiation program of keratinocytes in the epidermis. Recent studies indicate that genetic mutations are linked to barrier dysfunction in skin disorders: ichthyosis vulgaris, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Most inflammatory skin disorders exhibit abnormal keratinocyte differentiation, disrupted barrier function and/or abnormalities of immunocytes.

The Laboratory of Skin Biology utilizes a systematic approach to understand the function of specific regulators and pathways, and a combination of mouse models, toward elucidating the molecular processes that contribute to epidermal differentiation and barrier formation, appendage development and the mechanisms underlying the pathologies of Ectodermal Dysplasias (EDs).

Selected Publications

Lessard JC, Kalinin A, Bible PW, Morasso MI. Calmodulin 4 is dispensable for epidermal barrier formation and wound healing in mice. Exp Dermatol. 2015 Jan;24(1):55-7. doi: 10.1111/exd.12568. Epub 2014 Nov 20. PubMed Icon

Kim JC, Duverger O, Hwang J, Morasso MI. Epidermal Stem Cells in the Isthmus/Infundibulum Influence Hair Shaft Differentiation: Evidence from Targeted DLX3 Deletion. J Invest Dermatol. 2015 Jan;135(1):299-301. doi: 10.1038/jid.2014.287. Epub 2014 Jul 9. PubMed Icon

Duverger O, Ohara T, Shaffer JR, Donahue D, Zerfas P, Dullnig A, Crecelius C, Beniash E, Marazita ML, Morasso MI. Hair keratin mutations in tooth enamel increase dental decay risk. J Clin Invest. 2014 Dec 1;124(12):5219-24. doi: 10.1172/JCI78272. Epub 2014 Oct 27. PubMed Icon

Isaac J, Erthal J, Gordon J, Duverger O, Sun HW, Lichtler AC, Stein GS, Lian JB, Morasso MI. DLX3 regulates bone mass by targeting genes supporting osteoblast differentiation and mineral homeostasis in vivo. Cell Death Differ. 2014 Sep;21(9):1365-76. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2014.82. Epub 2014 Jun 20. PubMed Icon

Ha HL, Wang H, Pisitkun P, Kim JC, Tassi I, Tang W, Morasso MI, Udey MC, Siebenlist U. IL-17 drives psoriatic inflammation via distinct, target cell-specific mechanisms. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Aug 19;111(33):E3422-31. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1400513111. Epub 2014 Aug 4. PubMed Icon

Duverger O, Isaac J, Zah A, Hwang J, Berdal A, Lian JB, Morasso MI. In vivo impact of Dlx3 conditional inactivation in neural crest-derived craniofacial bones. J Cell Physiol. 2013 Mar;228(3):654-64. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24175. PubMed Icon

Okano J , Lichti U, Mamiya S, Aronova M, Zhang G, Yuspa S.H, Hamada H, Sakai Y and Morasso MI. Increased retinoic acid levels through ablation of Cyp26b1 determine the processes of embryonic skin barrier formation and peridermal development. Journal of Cell Science . 2012 Feb 24. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed Icon

Duverger O, Zah A, Isaac J, Sun HW, Bartels AK, Lian JB, Berdal A, Hwang J, Morasso MI. Neural crest deletion of Dlx3 leads to Major Dentin defects through downregulation of Dspp. J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 20. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed Icon

See extended list of publications


Updated October 13, 2011