Wnt/β-catenin activation in adult epidermis can induce new hair follicle formation and tumor development. We used lineage tracing to uncover the relative contribution of different stem cell populations. LGR6(+) and LRIG1(+) stem cells contributed to ectopic hair follicles formed in the sebaceous gland upon β-catenin activation, whereas LGR5(+) cells did not. Lgr6, but not Lrig1 or Lgr5, was expressed in a subpopulation of interfollicular epidermal cells that were competent to form new hair follicles. Oncogenic β-catenin expression in LGR5(+) cells led to formation of pilomatricomas, while LRIG1(+) cells formed trichoadenomas and LGR6(+) cells formed dermatofibromas. Tumor formation was always accompanied by a local increase in dermal fibroblast density and transient extracellular matrix remodeling. However, each tumor had a distinct stromal signature in terms of immune cell infiltrate and expression of CD26 and CD44. We conclude that compartmentalization of epidermal stem cells underlies different responses to β-catenin and skin tumor heterogeneity.
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