Epidermal basement membrane zone components: ultrastructural distribution and molecular interactions

J Dermatol Sci. 2003 May;31(3):169-77. doi: 10.1016/s0923-1811(03)00045-8.


The epidermal basement membrane zone (BMZ) comprises a multiprotein complex that aids the attachment of epidermal keratinocytes to the underlying dermis. In the last 5 years, our understanding of epidermal BMZ morphology, structure and function has dramatically improved. A complex network of molecular interactions has recently been identified that strengthen dermal-epidermal adhesion. Special attention will be paid to the recently identified network of interactions between BMZ components, including alpha6beta4 integrin interactions, the extracellular hook domain of collagen XVII and the looping structure of collagen VII molecules. We summarize some of the recent advances in the understanding of the biology and interactions of BMZ components from an ultrastructural and molecular perspective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantigens / analysis
  • Basement Membrane / ultrastructure*
  • Collagen / analysis
  • Epidermis / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • Integrins / analysis
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / analysis
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Laminin / analysis
  • Non-Fibrillar Collagens*
  • Plectin


  • Autoantigens
  • Integrins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Laminin
  • Non-Fibrillar Collagens
  • PLEC protein, human
  • Plectin
  • collagen type XVII
  • Keratins
  • Collagen