The uppermost aspect of the hair follicle, known as the infundibulum or hair canal, provides a passageway for hair shaft egress and sebum secretion. Recent studies have indicated that the infundibulum and sebaceous ducts are lined by molecularly distinct differentiated cells expressing markers including Keratin 79 and Gata6. Here, we ablated Gata6 from the skin and observed dilation of both the hair canal and sebaceous ducts, independent of gender and hair cycle stage. Constitutive loss of Gata6 yielded only a mild delay in depilation-induced entry into anagen, while unperturbed mutant mice possessed overtly normal skin and hair. Furthermore, we noted that Keratin 79 and Gata6 expression and localization did not depend upon each other. Our findings implicate Gata6 in maintaining the upper hair follicle and suggest that regulation of this transcription factor may be compromised in pathologies such as acne or infundibular cystic diseases that are characterized by abnormal expansion of this follicular domain.
Keywords: Gata6; K79; Krt79; hair cycling; infundibulum; pilosebaceous unit; skin pore.
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