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

Cell Stem Cell. 2013 Sep 5;13(3):314-27. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2013.06.018.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / genetics
  • Cell Transdifferentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Hair / growth & development*
  • Hair Follicle / physiology*
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Regeneration
  • Sebaceous Glands / physiology*
  • Stem Cell Niche / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins
  • Lhx2 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE48068