A pair of transmembrane receptors essential for the retention and pigmentation of hair

Genesis. 2012 Nov;50(11):783-800. doi: 10.1002/dvg.22039. Epub 2012 Jun 19.


Hair follicles are simple, accessible models for many developmental processes. Here, using mutant mice, we show that Bmpr2, a known receptor for bone morphogenetic proteins (Bmps), and Acvr2a, a known receptor for Bmps and activins, are individually redundant but together essential for multiple follicular traits. When Bmpr2/Acvr2a function is reduced in cutaneous epithelium, hair follicles undergo rapid cycles of hair generation and loss. Alopecia results from a failure to terminate hair development properly, as hair clubs never form, and follicular retraction is slowed. Hair regeneration is rapid due to premature activation of new hair-production programs. Hair shafts differentiate aberrantly due to impaired arrest of medullary-cell proliferation. When Bmpr2/Acvr2a function is reduced in melanocytes, gray hair develops, as melanosomes differentiate but fail to grow, resulting in organelle miniaturization. We conclude that Bmpr2 and Acvr2a normally play cell-type-specific, necessary roles in organelle biogenesis and the shutdown of developmental programs and cell division.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activin Receptors, Type II / deficiency
  • Activin Receptors, Type II / genetics
  • Activin Receptors, Type II / physiology
  • Alopecia / genetics
  • Alopecia / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type II / deficiency
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type II / genetics
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type II / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Hair / pathology
  • Hair / physiopathology*
  • Hair Color*
  • Hair Follicle / pathology
  • Male
  • Melanocytes / metabolism
  • Melanosomes / metabolism
  • Melanosomes / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Primary Cell Culture


  • Activin Receptors, Type II
  • Bmpr2 protein, mouse
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type II
  • activin receptor type II-A