Cell-matrix adhesions provide structural stability to the tissue and regulate intracellular signalling pathways that are important for cell fate decisions of the different cell populations within the skin. As a consequence of these central functions, genetic or functional impairment of various key protein components of matrix adhesions plays a causative role in the aetiology or pathophysiology in a large variety of skin disorders. Research towards understanding the molecular composition of these adhesions as well as the mechanisms by which they transmit signals is therefore of obvious importance. In this essay, we discuss the roles of integrin-linked kinase, a key component of cell-matrix adhesions, in the (patho)physiology of skin and in particular highlight its role in regulating mechanical tension and matrix remodelling both in the epidermis and in the dermis.
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