Epidermal cell turnover across tight junctions based on Kelvin’s tetrakaidecahedron cell shape

Mariko Yokouchi, Toru Atsugi, Mark Van Logtestijn, Reiko J. Tanaka, Mayumi Kajimura, Makoto Suematsu, Mikio Furuse, Masayuki Amagai, Akiharu Kubo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


In multicellular organisms, cells adopt various shapes, from flattened sheets of endothelium to dendritic neurons, that allow the cells to function effectively. Here, we elucidated the unique shape of cells in the cornified stratified epithelia of the mammalian epidermis that allows them to achieve homeostasis of the tight junction (TJ) barrier. Using intimate in vivo 3D imaging, we found that the basic shape of TJ-bearing cells is a flattened Kelvin’s tetrakaidecahedron (f-TKD), an optimal shape for filling space. In vivo live imaging further elucidated the dynamic replacement of TJs on the edges of f-TKD cells that enables the TJ-bearing cells to translocate across the TJ barrier. We propose a spatiotemporal orchestration model of f-TKD cell turnover, where in the classic context of’form follows function’, cell shape provides a fundamental basis for the barrier homeostasis and physical strength of cornified stratified epithelia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere19593
Issue numberNOVEMBER2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 29

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Epidermal cell turnover across tight junctions based on Kelvin’s tetrakaidecahedron cell shape'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this