The p53 family member p63 has been implicated in both the development and maintenance of stratified epithelial tissues, including the epidermis. Increasing data support p63 function in the regenerative capacity of basal keratinocytes by maintaining cell proliferation. Recent studies further suggest this regulation relies on inhibition of p53 activity. In addition, p63 appears to exert separate control over epidermal differentiation, which may involve control of such key signaling molecules as IKKalpha and Notch. While studies over the past decade have greatly expanded our knowledge of p63 function, much remains to be understood regarding how p63 regulates epidermal homeostasis. Future efforts to identify and validate direct p63 target genes as well as to understand the expression and function of individual p63 isoforms will be important to further define how p63 functions in the control of keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation.
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