Architectural niche organization by LHX2 is linked to hair follicle stem cell function

Alicia R. Folgueras, Xingyi Guo, H. Amalia Pasolli, Nicole Stokes, Lisa Polak, Deyou Zheng, Elaine Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


In adult skin, self-renewing, undifferentiated hair follicle stem cells (HF-SCs) reside within a specialized niche, where they spend prolonged times as a single layer of polarized, quiescent epithelial cells. When sufficient activating signals accumulate, HF-SCs become mobilized to fuel tissue regeneration and hair growth. Here, we show that architectural organization of the HF-SC niche by transcription factor LHX2 plays a critical role in HF-SC behavior. Using genome-wide chromatin and transcriptional profiling of HF-SCs in vivo, we show that LHX2 directly transactivates genes that orchestrate cytoskeletal dynamics and adhesion. Conditional ablation of LHX2 results in gross cellular disorganization and HF-SC polarization within the niche. LHX2 loss leads to a failure to maintain HF-SC quiescence and hair anchoring, as well as progressive transformation of the niche into a sebaceous gland. These findings suggest that niche organization underlies the requirement for LHX2 in hair follicle structure and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-327
Number of pages14
JournalCell Stem Cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 5 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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