Symmetry breaking of tissue mechanics in wound induced hair follicle regeneration of laboratory and spiny mice

Nat Commun. 2021 May 10;12(1):2595. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22822-9.


Tissue regeneration is a process that recapitulates and restores organ structure and function. Although previous studies have demonstrated wound-induced hair neogenesis (WIHN) in laboratory mice (Mus), the regeneration is limited to the center of the wound unlike those observed in African spiny (Acomys) mice. Tissue mechanics have been implicated as an integral part of tissue morphogenesis. Here, we use the WIHN model to investigate the mechanical and molecular responses of laboratory and African spiny mice, and report these models demonstrate opposing trends in spatiotemporal morphogenetic field formation with association to wound stiffness landscapes. Transcriptome analysis and K14-Cre-Twist1 transgenic mice show the Twist1 pathway acts as a mediator for both epidermal-dermal interactions and a competence factor for periodic patterning, differing from those used in development. We propose a Turing model based on tissue stiffness that supports a two-scale tissue mechanics process: (1) establishing a morphogenetic field within the wound bed (mm scale) and (2) symmetry breaking of the epidermis and forming periodically arranged hair primordia within the morphogenetic field (μm scale). Thus, we delineate distinct chemo-mechanical events in building a Turing morphogenesis-competent field during WIHN of laboratory and African spiny mice and identify its evo-devo advantages with perspectives for regenerative medicine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epidermis / anatomy & histology*
  • Epidermis / metabolism*
  • Epidermis / physiology
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Hair Follicle / anatomy & histology
  • Hair Follicle / metabolism*
  • Hair Follicle / physiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Models, Psychological
  • Morphogenesis / genetics
  • Morphogenesis / physiology*
  • Murinae
  • RNA-Seq
  • Regeneration / genetics
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis
  • Twist-Related Protein 1 / genetics
  • Twist-Related Protein 1 / metabolism*
  • Wound Healing / genetics
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Twist-Related Protein 1
  • Twist1 protein, mouse