Mechanisms regulating epidermal stem cells

EMBO J. 2012 May 2;31(9):2067-75. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2012.67. Epub 2012 Mar 20.


The skin epidermis contains different appendages such as the hair follicle and the sebaceous glands. Recent studies demonstrated that several types of stem cells (SCs) exist in different niches within the epidermis and maintain discrete epidermal compartments, but the exact contribution of each SC populations under physiological conditions is still unclear. In addition, the precise mechanisms controlling the balance between proliferation and differentiation of epidermal SC still remain elusive. Recent studies provide new insights into these important questions by showing the contribution of hair follicle SC to the sebaceous lineage and the importance of chromatin modifications and micro-RNAs (miRs) in regulating epidermal SCs renewal and differentiation. In this review, we will discuss the importance of these papers to our understanding of the mechanisms that control epidermal SC functions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epidermal Cells*
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Sebaceous Glands / cytology
  • Sebaceous Glands / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins