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Live cell imaging of a keratinocyte moving over its matrix (laminin-332 in green) in vitro. The beta 3 laminin subunit expressed by the cell was tagged with GFP.

The Jones lab studies the molecular basis of communication between cells and their environment and how this communication regulates homeostasis and repair of tissues. A particular focus of the group is on the interaction between epithelial cells and the laminin elements of the extracellular matrix. Our initial foray into cell-matrix interactions stemmed from wanting to characterize an intriguing matrix attachment device called thehemidesmosome found in skin and certain other epithelial tissue types. We still are actively characterizing novel functions of hemidesmosome proteins and have pursued the mechanistic analyses of a number of hemidesmosome and hemidesomsome-associated proteins in different tissue systems. Current projects in the lab include investigating how laminin receptors transduce signals both into and out of cells, how laminin matrices are assembled and understanding how the dynamics of matrix adhesion sites determine directed migration in moving skin cells. These analyses involve modern cell and molecular techniques, in vitro and in vivo studies as well as high resolution light microscopical evaluation of fixed and live cells and tissues.