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Keywords:

  • NFATc1;
  • Myc;
  • EGF receptor;
  • β-catenin;
  • Lrig1

Abstract

Mammalian epidermis is maintained by self-renewal of stem cells and terminal differentiation of their progeny. New data reveal a diversity amongst stem cells that was previously unrecognized. Different stem cell populations have different locations and differ in whether they are quiescent or actively cycling. During normal epidermal homeostasis, each stem cell population feeds a restricted number of differentiated lineages. However, in response to injury or genetic manipulation the different pools of stem cells demonstrate multi-lineage differentiation ability. While it is well established that Wnt signalling promotes hair follicle (HF) differentiation, new observations suggest a role for EGF receptor signalling in promoting differentiation of interfollicular epidermis. NFATc1 maintains quiescence in the HF, while Lrig1 exerts the same function in the junctional zone. The stage is now set for exploring the relationship between the different epidermal stem cell populations and between quiescence and lineage selection.