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Milestones in Investigative Dermatology: The Desmosome

      The desmosome is a structurally complex and functionally crucial component of the epidermis and other tissues that experience mechanical stress. From the late 1800s through the golden age of electron microscopy in the 1950s and 1960s, the desmosome caught the eye of morphologists and became a focal point for modern cellular biologists and investigative dermatologists. This series of short reviews highlights some of the key breakthroughs in desmosome research and depicts a timeline of how this rich field of research has taken shape. While we highlight some of the major breakthroughs and important papers over the past 100-plus years, we do so with a deep appreciation that many crucial observations from numerous laboratories are not explicitly mentioned or highlighted here. In many instances, these studies are the glue that binds these milestone observations together. We encourage the reader to follow up on this introduction to desmosome history by seeking out the many comprehensive reviews of the desmosome literature that have been published recently.