Genetic mosaic analysis indicates that the bulb region of coat hair follicles contains a resident population of several active multipotent epithelial lineage progenitors

Raphael Kopan, Jonghyeob Lee, Meei Hua Lin, Andrew J. Syder, John Kesterson, Neil Crutchfield, Caroline R. Li, Wei Wu, Jason Books, Jeffrey I. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

The hair follicle represents an excellent model system for exploring the properties of lineage-forming units in a dynamic epithelium containing multiple cell types. During its growth (anagen) phase, the proximal-distal axis of the mouse coat hair (pelage) follicle provides a historical record of all epithelial lineages generated from its resident stem cell population. An unresolved question in the field is whether the bulb region of anagen pelage follicles contains multipotential progenitors and whether their individual contribution to cellular census fluctuates over time. To address this issue, chimeric follicles were harvested in midanagen from three types of genetic mosaic mouse models. Analysis of the distribution of genotypic markers, including digital three-dimensional reconstruction of serially sectioned chimeric follicles, revealed that on average the bulb contains four or fewer active progenitors, each capable of giving rise to all six follicular epithelial fates. Moreover, analysis of mosaic pelage, as well as cultured whisker follicles provided evidence that bulb-associated progenitors can give rise to expanding descendant clones during midanagen, leading to the conclusion that the bulb contains dormant or symmetrically dividing stem cells. This latter feature resembles the behavior of hematopoietic stem cells after bone marrow transplantation, and raises the question of whether this property may be shared by stem cells in other self-renewing epithelia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-57
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume242
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2002

Keywords

  • Epithelial differentiation
  • Genetic mosaic mouse models
  • Hair follicle
  • Stem cells

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