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Keywords:

  • hair follicle;
  • dermal papilla;
  • hair types;
  • hair structure;
  • Runx3;
  • melanocytes;
  • MITF;
  • skin appendages;
  • nail;
  • eccrine sweat glands;
  • epithelial-mesenchymal interactions

Abstract

Transcriptional regulators of the Runx family play critical roles in normal organ development and, when mutated, lead to genetic diseases and cancer. Runx3 functions during cell lineage decisions in thymopoiesis and neurogenesis and mediates transforming growth factor-β signaling in dendritic cells. Here, we study the function of Runx3 in the skin and its appendages, primarily the hair follicle, during mouse development. Runx3 is expressed predominantly in the dermal compartment of the hair follicles as they form and during the hair cycle, as well as in the nail and sweat gland skin appendages. Distinct expression is also detected periodically in isolated cells of the epidermis and in melanocytes, populating the hair bulb. Runx3-deficient mice display a perturbation of the normal hair coat, which we show to be due to hair type and hair shape changes. Thus, one of the functions of Runx3 in skin may be to regulate the formation of the epithelial derived structural hair by affecting dermal to epidermal interactions. Developmental Dynamics 233:1478–1487, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.