Micro-RNA-31 controls hair cycle-associated changes in gene expression programs of the skin and hair follicle

FASEB J. 2010 Oct;24(10):3869-81. doi: 10.1096/fj.10-160663. Epub 2010 Jun 3.


The hair follicle is a cyclic biological system that progresses through stages of growth, regression, and quiescence, which involves dynamic changes in a program of gene regulation. Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are critically important for the control of gene expression and silencing. Here, we show that global miRNA expression in the skin markedly changes during distinct stages of the hair cycle in mice. Furthermore, we show that expression of miR-31 markedly increases during anagen and decreases during catagen and telogen. Administration of antisense miR-31 inhibitor into mouse skin during the early- and midanagen phases of the hair cycle results in accelerated anagen development, and altered differentiation of hair matrix keratinocytes and hair shaft formation. Microarray, qRT-PCR and Western blot analyses revealed that miR-31 negatively regulates expression of Fgf10, the components of Wnt and BMP signaling pathways Sclerostin and BAMBI, and Dlx3 transcription factor, as well as selected keratin genes, both in vitro and in vivo. Using luciferase reporter assay, we show that Krt16, Krt17, Dlx3, and Fgf10 serve as direct miR-31 targets. Thus, by targeting a number of growth regulatory molecules and cytoskeletal proteins, miR-31 is involved in establishing an optimal balance of gene expression in the hair follicle required for its proper growth and hair fiber formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration*