Studying cell biology in the skin.
Advances in cell biology have often been driven by studies in diverse organisms and cell types. Although there are technical reasons for why different cell types are used, there are also important physiological reasons. For example, ultrastructural studies of vesicle transport were aided by the use of professional secretory cell types. The use of tissues/primary cells has the advantage not only of using cells that are adapted to the use of certain cell biological machinery, but also of highlighting the physiological roles of this machinery. Here we discuss advantages of the skin as a model system. We discuss both advances in cell biology that used the skin as a driving force and future prospects for use of the skin to understand basic cell biology. A unique combination of characteristics and tools makes the skin a useful in vivo model system for many cell biologists.
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