B-lymphocyte-induced nuclear maturation protein 1 (BLIMP1) was previously reported to define a sebaceous gland (SG) progenitor population in the epidermis. However, the recent identification of multiple stem cell populations in the hair follicle junctional zone has led us to re-evaluate its function. We show, in agreement with previous studies, that BLIMP1 is expressed by postmitotic, terminally differentiated epidermal cells within the SG, interfollicular epidermis, and hair follicle. Epidermal overexpression of c-Myc results in loss of BLIMP1(+) cells, an effect modulated by androgen signaling. Epidermal-specific deletion of Blimp1 causes multiple differentiation defects in the epidermis in addition to SG enlargement. In culture, BLIMP1(+) sebocytes have no greater clonogenic potential than BLIMP1(-) sebocytes. Finally, lineage-tracing experiments reveal that, under steady-state conditions, BLIMP1-expressing cells do not divide. Thus, rather than defining a sebocyte progenitor population, BLIMP1 functions in terminally differentiated cells to maintain homeostasis in multiple epidermal compartments.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.