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1.  Hair-cycle dependent differential expression of ADAM 10 and ADAM 12 
Dermato-endocrinology  2009;1(1):46-53.
ADAM proteases play important roles in processes of development and differentiation. However, no report has been found in the literature addressing the expression and function of ADAM proteases during hair cycling.
Cytoplasmic expression pattern of ADAM 10, 12 was similar between normal epidermis and hair infundibulum. In addition, cytoplasmic expression of ADAM 10 was observed in the hair bulb keratinocytes and fibroblasts of dermal papilla in anagen I–III hair follicles. In contrast, decreased ADAM 10 expression was observed in the hair matrix keratinocytes as compared to the hair bulb keratinocytes in anagen I–III hair follicles. Interestingly, ADAM 10 immunoreactivity was expressed weakly in the lower portion of outer root sheath (ORS) of anagen VI hair follicles, and strong ADAM 10 expression was detected in the ORS of catagen and telogen hair follicles. By contrast, ADAM 12 expression was not detected in the hair bulb keratinocytes of anagen I–III hair follicles. ADAM 12 immunoreactivity firstly appeared in the inner root sheath ( IRS ) of anagen IV—V hair follicles and was down-regulated in the IRS and hair cortex and medulla of catagen hair follicles, Strong ADAM 12 immunoreactivity was observed in the ORS of catagen and telogen hair follicles.
Material and methods
Samples of normal human skin (n = 30) were used. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed using ADAM 10, 12 specific polyclonal antibodies and a sensitive streptavidin-peroxidase technique.
Our study demonstrates a comparable staining pattern of decreased ADAM 10 immunoreactivity in hair matrix keratinocytes and the basal cell layer of normal epidermis and hair infundibulum. Expression of ADAM 10 in dermal papilla cells may imply a role in the induction and development of anagen hair follicles. In addition, expression of ADAM 10 in the ORS and hair bulb assume the involvment of ADAM 10 in the downward migration of anagen hair follicles. Furthermore ADAM 12 expression in the IRS may indicate a role in the differentiation of anagen hair follicles. Downregulation of ADAM 12 upon the onset of catagen hair stage suggests that ADAM 12 may play an important role of ADAM 12 in the apoptosis of hair follicle keratinocytes. In summary our findings suggest that ADAM 10 and 12 may be of importance for the regulation of hair cycling.
PMCID: PMC2715197  PMID: 20046589
ADAM 10; ADAM 12; hair cycle; immunohistochemistry; hair follicle
2.  Co-factors of LIM domains (Clims/Ldb/Nli) regulate corneal homeostasis and maintenance of hair follicle stem cells 
Developmental biology  2007;312(2):484-500.
The homeostasis of both cornea and hair follicles depends on a constant supply of progeny cells produced by populations of keratin (K) 14-expressing stem cells localized in specific niches. To investigate the potential role of Co-factors of LIM domains (Clims) in epithelial tissues, we generated transgenic mice expressing a dominant-negative Clim molecule (DN-Clim) under the control of the K14 promoter. As expected, the K14 promoter directed high level expression of the transgene to the basal cells of cornea and epidermis, as well as the outer root sheath of hair follicles. In corneal epithelium, the transgene expression causes decreased expression of adhesion molecule BP180 and defective hemidesmosomes, leading to detachment of corneal epithelium from the underlying stroma, which in turn causes blisters, wounds and an inflammatory response. After a period of epithelial thinning, the corneal epithelium undergoes differentiation to an epidermis-like structure. The K14-DN-Clim mice also develop progressive hair loss due to dysfunctional hair follicles that fail to generate hair shafts. The number of hair follicle stem cells is decreased by at least 60% in K14-DN-Clim mice, indicating that Clims are required for hair follicle stem cell maintenance. In addition, Clim2 interacts with Lhx2 in vivo, suggesting that Clim2 is an essential co-factor for the LIM homeodomain factor Lhx2, which was previously shown to play a role in hair follicle stem cell maintenance. Together, these data indicate that Clim proteins play important roles in the homeostasis of corneal epithelium and hair follicles.
PMCID: PMC2494569  PMID: 17991461
LIM domain transcription factors; Co-factors of LIM domains; Clim; Lhx2; hair follicle stem cells; cornea; adhesion; hemidesmosomes; BP180
3.  Conditional Activin Receptor Type IB (Acvr1b) Knockout Mice Reveal Hair Loss Abnormality 
The in vivo functions of the activin A receptor type 1b (Acvr1b) have been difficult to study because Acvr1b−/− mice die during embryogenesis. To investigate the roles of Acvr1b in the epithelial tissues, we created mice with a conditional disruption of Acvr1b (Acvr1bflox/flox) and crossed them with K14-Cre mice. Acvr1bflox/flox; K14-Cre mice displayed various degrees of hairlessness at postnatal day 5, and the phenotype is exacerbated by age. Histological analyses showed that those hair follicles that developed during morphogenesis were later disrupted by delays in hair cycle reentry. Failure in cycling of the hair follicles and regrowth of the hair shaft and the inner root sheath resulted in subsequent severe hair loss. Apart from previous reports of other members of the transforming growth factor-β/activin/bone morphogenic protein pathways, we demonstrate a specialized role for Acvr1b in hair cycling in addition to hair follicle development. Acvr1bflox/flox; K14-Cre mice also had a thicker epidermis than did wild-type mice, which resulted from persistent proliferation of skin epithelial cells; however, no tumor formation was observed by 18 months of age. Our analysis of this Acvr1b knockout mouse line provides direct genetic evidence that Acvr1b signaling is required for both hair follicle development and cycling.
PMCID: PMC4049458  PMID: 21191412
4.  Expression Of Nucleosomal Protein HMGN1 In The Cycling Mouse Hair Follicle 
Gene expression patterns : GEP  2009;9(5):289-295.
Here we examine the expression pattern of HMGN1, a nucleosome binding protein that affects chromatin structure and activity, in the hair follicle and test whether loss of HMGN1 affects the development or cycling of the follicle. We find that at the onset of hair follicle development, HMGN1 protein is expressed in the epidermal placode and in aggregated dermal fibroblasts. In the adult hair follicle, HMGN1 is specifically expressed in the basal layer of epidermis, in the outer root sheath, in the hair bulb, but not in the inner root sheath and hair shaft. The expression pattern of HMGN1 is very similar to p63, suggesting a role for HMGN1 in the transiently amplifying cells. We also find HMGN1 expression in some, but not all hair follicle stem cells as detected by its colocalization with Nestin and with BrdU label-retaining cells. The appearance of the skin and hair follicle of Hmgn1-/- mice was indistinguishable from that of their Hmgn1+/+ littermates. We found that in the hair follicle the expression of HMGN2 is very similar to HMGN1 suggesting functional redundancy between these closely related HMGN variants.
PMCID: PMC2738608  PMID: 19303948
chromatin; HMGN; p63; hair follicle
5.  Cortical Aerenchyma Formation in Hypocotyl and Adventitious Roots of Luffa cylindrica Subjected to Soil Flooding 
Annals of Botany  2007;100(7):1431-1439.
Background and Aims
Aerenchyma formation is thought to be one of the important morphological adaptations to hypoxic stress. Although sponge gourd is an annual vegetable upland crop, in response to flooding the hypocotyl and newly formed adventitious roots create aerenchyma that is neither schizogenous nor lysigenous, but is produced by radial elongation of cortical cells. The aim of this study is to characterize the morphological changes in flooded tissues and the pattern of cortical aerenchyma formation, and to analyse the relative amount of aerenchyma formed.
Plants were harvested at 16 d after the flooding treatment was initiated. The root system was observed, and sections of fresh materials (hypocotyl, tap root and adventitious root) were viewed with a light or fluorescence microscope. Distributions of porosity along adventitious roots were estimated by a pycnometer method.
Key Results
Under flooded conditions, a considerable part of the root system consisted of new adventitious roots which soon emerged and grew quickly over the soil surface. The outer cortical cells of these roots and those of the hypocotyl elongated radially and contributed to the development of large intercellular spaces. The elongated cortical cells of adventitious roots were clearly T-shaped, and occurred regularly in mesh-like lacunate structures. In these positions, slits were formed in the epidermis. In the roots, the enlargement of the gas space system began close to the apex in the cortical cell layers immediately beneath the epidermis. The porosity along these roots was 11–45 %. In non-flooded plants, adventitious roots were not formed and no aerenchyma developed in the hypocotyl or tap root.
Sponge gourd aerenchyma is produced by the unique radial elongation of cells that make the expansigeny. These morphological changes seem to enhance flooding tolerance by promoting tissue gas exchange, and sponge gourd might thereby adapt to flooding stress.
PMCID: PMC2759224  PMID: 17921518
Aerenchyma; Luffa cylindrica; primary cortex; flooding; oxygen; adventitious root; hypocotyl; porosity
6.  Steady and Temporary Expressions of Smooth Muscle Actin in Hair, Vibrissa, Arrector Pili Muscle, and Other Hair Appendages of Developing Rats 
Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica  2011;44(3):141-153.
The hair erection muscle, arrector pili, is a kind of smooth muscle located in the mammalian dermis. The immunohistochemical study using an antibody against smooth muscle alpha actin (SMA) showed that the arrector pili muscle develops approximately 1–2 weeks after birth in dorsal and ventral skin, but thereafter they degenerate. The arrector pili muscle was not detected in the mystacial pad during any stage of development, even in the neighboring pelage-type hair follicle. A strong signal of SMA in the skin was located in the dermal sheath as well as in some outer root sheath cells in the hair and vibrissal follicles. Positive areas in the dermal and outer root sheaths were restricted to a lower moiety, particularly areas of similar height, where keratinization of the hair shaft occurs. This rule is valid for both pelage hair follicles and vibrissal follicles. At medium heights of the follicle, SMA staining in the dermal sheath was patchy and distant from the boundary between dermis and epidermis. In contrast to SMA, vimentin was expressed over the entire height of the dermal sheath. Unlike the arrector pili muscle, the expression of SMA in the dermal sheath was observed during fetal, neonatal, and adult stages. The presence of actin-myosin and vimentin fibers in supporting cells is thought to be beneficial for the hair follicle to cope with the movement of the hair shaft, which may be caused by physical contacts with outside materials or by the contraction of internal muscles.
PMCID: PMC3130146  PMID: 21753860
hair; arrector pili muscle; smooth muscle actin; vimentin; dermal sheath
7.  Nitric Oxide Functions as a Positive Regulator of Root Hair Development 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2006;1(1):28-33.
The root epidermis is composed of two cell types: trichoblasts (or hair cells) and atrichoblasts (or non-hair cells). In lettuce (Lactuca sativa cv. Grand Rapids var. Rapidmor oscura) plants grown hydroponically in water, the root epidermis did not form root hairs. The addition of 10 µM sodium nitroprusside (SNP), a nitric oxide (NO) donor, resulted in almost all rhizodermal cells differentiated into root hairs. Treatment with the synthetic auxin 1-naphthyl acetic acid (NAA) displayed a significant increase of root hair formation (RHF) that was prevented by the specific NO scavenger carboxy-PTIO (cPTIO). In Arabidopsis, two mutants have been shown to be defective in NO production and to display altered phenotypes in which NO is implicated. Arabidopsis nos1 has a mutation in an NO synthase structural gene (NOS1), and the nia1 nia2 double mutant is null for nitrate reductase (NR) activity. We observed that both mutants were affected in their capacity of developing root hairs. Root hair elongation was significantly reduced in nos1 and nia1 nia2 mutants as well as in cPTIO-treated wild type plants. A correlation was found between endogenous NO level in roots detected by the fluorescent probe DAF-FM DA and RHF. In Arabidopsis, as well as in lettuce, cPTIO blocked the NAA-induced root hair elongation. Taken together, these results indicate that: (1) NO is a critical molecule in the process leading to RHF and (2) NO is involved in the auxin-signaling cascade leading to RHF.
PMCID: PMC2633697  PMID: 19521473
auxin; nitric oxide; root hair; lettuce; arabidopsis; nos1 mutant; nia1; nia2 mutant
8.  Generation of folliculogenic human epithelial stem cells from induced pluripotent stem cells 
Nature communications  2014;5:3071.
Epithelial stem cells (EpSCs) in the hair follicle bulge are required for hair follicle growth and cycling. The isolation and propagation of human EpSCs for tissue engineering purposes remains a challenge. Here we develop a strategy to differentiate human iPSCs (hiPSCs) into CD200+/ITGA6+ EpSCs that can reconstitute the epithelial components of the hair follicle and interfollicular epidermis. The hiPSC-derived CD200+/ITGA6+ cells show a similar gene expression signature as EpSCs directly isolated from human hair follicles. Human iPSC-derived CD200+/ITGA6+ cells are capable of generating all hair follicle lineages including the hair shaft, and the inner and outer root sheaths in skin reconstitution assays. The regenerated hair follicles possess a KRT15+ stem cell population and produce hair shafts expressing hair specific keratins. These results suggest an approach for generating large numbers of human EpSCs for tissue engineering and new treatments for hair loss, wound healing and other degenerative skin disorders.
PMCID: PMC4049184  PMID: 24468981
9.  The organization of roots of dicotyledonous plants and the positions of control points 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(7):1213-1222.
The structure of roots has been studied for many years, but despite their importance to the growth and well-being of plants, most researchers tend to ignore them. This is unfortunate, because their simple body plan makes it possible to study complex developmental pathways without the complications sometimes found in the shoot. In this illustrated essay, my objective is to describe the body plan of the root and the root apical meristem (RAM) and point out the control points where differentiation and cell cycle decisions are made. Hopefully this outline will assist plant biologists in identifying the structural context for their observations.
Scope and Conclusions
This short paper outlines the types of RAM, i.e. basic-open, intermediate-open and closed, shows how they are similar and different, and makes the point that the structure and shape of the RAM are not static, but changes in shape, size and organization occur depending on root growth rate and development stage. RAMs with a closed organization lose their outer root cap layers in sheets of dead cells, while those with an open organization release living border cells from the outer surfaces of the root cap. This observation suggests a possible difference in the mechanisms whereby roots with different RAM types communicate with soil-borne micro-organisms. The root body is organized in cylinders, sectors (xylem and phloem in the vascular cylinder), cell files, packets and modules, and individual cells. The differentiation in these root development units is regulated at control points where genetic regulation is needed, and the location of these tissue-specific control points can be modulated as a function of root growth rate. In Arabidopsis thaliana the epidermis and peripheral root cap develop through a highly regulated series of steps starting with a periclinal division of an initial cell, the root cap/protoderm (RCP) initial. The derivative cells from the RCP initial divide into two cells, the inner cell divides again to renew the RCP and the other cell divides through four cycles to form 16 epidermal cells in a packet; the outer cell divides through four cycles to form the 16 cells making up the peripheral root cap packet. Together, the epidermal packet and the peripheral root cap packet make up a module of cells which are clonally related.
PMCID: PMC3091796  PMID: 21118839
Root apical meristem; RAM; cell cycle; differentiation; peripheral root cap; closed RAM organization; open RAM organization; epidermis; module; determination; levels of organization; plasmodesmata; T-division; root cap/protoderm initial; columella initial
10.  PHIV-RootCell: a supervised image analysis tool for rice root anatomical parameter quantification 
We developed the PHIV-RootCell software to quantify anatomical traits of rice roots transverse section images. Combined with an efficient root sample processing method for image acquisition, this program permits supervised measurements of areas (those of whole root section, stele, cortex, and central metaxylem vessels), number of cell layers and number of cells per cell layer. The PHIV-RootCell toolset runs under ImageJ, an independent operating system that has a license-free status. To demonstrate the usefulness of PHIV-RootCell, we conducted a genetic diversity study and an analysis of salt stress responses of root anatomical parameters in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Using 16 cultivars, we showed that we could discriminate between some of the varieties even at the 6 day-olds stage, and that tropical japonica varieties had larger root sections due to an increase in cell number. We observed, as described previously, that root sections become enlarged under salt stress. However, our results show an increase in cell number in ground tissues (endodermis and cortex) but a decrease in external (peripheral) tissues (sclerenchyma, exodermis, and epidermis). Thus, the PHIV-RootCell program is a user-friendly tool that will be helpful for future genetic and physiological studies that investigate root anatomical trait variations.
PMCID: PMC4298167  PMID: 25646121
cell number; image analysis software; rice; root; tissue area; transverse histological section; histological phenotype scoring
11.  A Gene Regulatory Network for Root Epidermis Cell Differentiation in Arabidopsis 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(1):e1002446.
The root epidermis of Arabidopsis provides an exceptional model for studying the molecular basis of cell fate and differentiation. To obtain a systems-level view of root epidermal cell differentiation, we used a genome-wide transcriptome approach to define and organize a large set of genes into a transcriptional regulatory network. Using cell fate mutants that produce only one of the two epidermal cell types, together with fluorescence-activated cell-sorting to preferentially analyze the root epidermis transcriptome, we identified 1,582 genes differentially expressed in the root-hair or non-hair cell types, including a set of 208 “core” root epidermal genes. The organization of the core genes into a network was accomplished by using 17 distinct root epidermis mutants and 2 hormone treatments to perturb the system and assess the effects on each gene's transcript accumulation. In addition, temporal gene expression information from a developmental time series dataset and predicted gene associations derived from a Bayesian modeling approach were used to aid the positioning of genes within the network. Further, a detailed functional analysis of likely bHLH regulatory genes within the network, including MYC1, bHLH54, bHLH66, and bHLH82, showed that three distinct subfamilies of bHLH proteins participate in root epidermis development in a stage-specific manner. The integration of genetic, genomic, and computational analyses provides a new view of the composition, architecture, and logic of the root epidermal transcriptional network, and it demonstrates the utility of a comprehensive systems approach for dissecting a complex regulatory network.
Author Summary
A current challenge in the field of developmental biology is to define the composition and organization of gene networks that direct the pattern and differentiation of cells, tissues, and organs. In this study, we address this problem using Arabidopsis root epidermis development, a relatively simple model for studies of cell pattern formation and differentiation in plants. We used a tissue-specific cell sorting approach to define more than 1,500 genes whose transcripts differentially accumulate in the developing root epidermis. A series of transcriptome analyses were performed with 17 root epidermal mutants and 2 plant hormone treatments to dissect the regulatory relationships between 208 core genes. In addition, gene expression information from a developmental time series dataset was used to organize genes temporally. The results provide insight into the composition, organization, and logic of a developmental gene regulatory network. Furthermore, this work demonstrates the utility of an integrated analysis in gene regulatory network construction using genetic, genomic, and computational approaches.
PMCID: PMC3257299  PMID: 22253603
12.  The miRNA-Processing Enzyme Dicer Is Essential for the Morphogenesis and Maintenance of Hair Follicles 
Current biology : CB  2006;16(10):1041-1049.
The discovery that microRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in regulating gene expression via post-transcriptional repression has revealed a previously unsuspected mechanism controlling development and progenitor-cell function (reviewed in [1, 2]); however, little is known of miRNA functions in mammalian organogenesis. Processing of miRNAs and their assembly into the RNA-induced silencing (RISC) complex requires the essential multifunctional enzyme Dicer [1]. We found that Dicer mRNA and multiple miRNAs are expressed in mouse skin, suggesting roles in skin- and hair-follicle biology. In newborn mice carrying an epidermal-specific Dicer deletion, hair follicles were stunted and hypoproliferative. Hair-shaft and inner-root-sheath differentiation was initiated, but the mutant hair follicles were misoriented and expression of the key signaling molecules Shh and Notch1 was lost by postnatal day 7. At this stage, hair-follicle dermal papillae were observed to evaginate, forming highly unusual structures within the basal epidermis. Normal hair shafts were not produced in the Dicer mutant, and the follicles lacked stem cell markers and degenerated. In contrast to decreased follicular proliferation, the epidermis became hyperproliferative. These results reveal critical roles for Dicer in the skin and implicate miRNAs in key aspects of epidermal and hair-follicle development and function.
PMCID: PMC2996092  PMID: 16682203
13.  Expression of keratin K14 in the epidermis and hair follicle: insights into complex programs of differentiation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1989;109(5):2295-2312.
Keratins K14 and K5 have long been considered to be biochemical markers of the stratified squamous epithelia, including epidermis (Moll, R., W. Franke, D. Schiller, B. Geiger, and R. Krepler. 1982. Cell. 31:11-24; Nelson, W., and T.-T. Sun. 1983. J. Cell Biol. 97:244-251). When cells of most stratified squamous epithelia differentiate, they downregulate expression of mRNAs encoding these two keratins and induce expression of new sets of keratins specific for individual programs of epithelial differentiation. Frequently, as in the case of epidermis, the expression of differentiation-specific keratins also leads to a reorganization of the keratin filament network, including denser bundling of the keratin fibers. We report here the use of monospecific antisera and cRNA probes to examine the differential expression of keratin K14 in the complex tissue of human skin. Using in situ hybridizations and immunoelectron microscopy, we find that the patterns of K14 expression and filament organization in the hair follicle are strikingly different from epidermis. Some of the mitotically active outer root sheath (ORS) cells, which give rise to ORS under normal circumstances and to epidermis during wound healing, produce only low levels of K14. These cells have fewer keratin filaments than basal epidermal cells, and the filaments are organized into looser, more delicate bundles than is typical for epidermis. As these cells differentiate, they elevate their expression of K14 and produce denser bundles of keratin filaments more typical of epidermis. In contrast to basal cells of epidermis and ORS, matrix cells, which are relatively undifferentiated and which can give rise to inner root sheath, cuticle and hair shaft, show no evidence of K14, K14 mRNA expression, or keratin filament formation. As matrix cells differentiate, they produce hair-specific keratins and dense bundles of keratin filaments but they do not induce K14 expression. Collectively, the patterns of K14 and K14 mRNA expression and filament organization in mitotically active epithelial cells of the skin correlate with their relative degree of pluripotency, and this suggests a possible basis for the deviation of hair follicle programs of differentiation from those of other stratified squamous epithelia.
PMCID: PMC2115845  PMID: 2478566
14.  Expression patterns of MITF during human cutaneous embryogenesis: evidence for bulge epithelial expression and persistence of dermal melanoblasts 
Journal of cutaneous pathology  2008;35(7):615-622.
The mechanisms whereby melanocytes populate the epidermis and developing hair follicles during embryogenesis are incompletely understood. Recent evidence implicates an intermediate mesenchymal stage in this evolutionary process in which HMB-45-positive melanocyte precursors (`melanoblasts') exist both in intradermal as well as intraepithelial and intrafollicular compartments. The melanocyte master transcriptional regulator, microphthalmia transcription factor (MITF), identifies mature melanocytes as well as melanocyte precursor stem cells that reside in the bulge region of the hair follicle.
To better define the use of MITF expression in the evaluation of melanocyte ontogeny, human embryonic and fetal skin samples (n = 28) at 6-24 weeks gestation were studied immunohistochemically for expression of MITF and Mart-1. Adjacent step sections were evaluated to correlate staining patterns with cell localization in the intraepidermal, intrafollicular and intradermal compartments.
At 6-8 weeks, MITF and Mart-1-positive cells were primarily intradermal with only rare positive cells in the epidermis. By 12-13 weeks, most of these cells had migrated into the epidermis, predominantly the suprabasal layers. Between 15-17 weeks, these cells localized to the basal layer and colonized developing hair follicles. Rare intradermal MITF and Mart-1 positive cells were found as late as week 20. At 18-24 weeks, MITF and Mart-1 positive cells were identified in the outer root sheath, bulge, and follicular bulge epithelium, in addition to the epidermis. Unexpectedly, weak but diffuse nuclear MITF expression was also present in the keratinocytes of the bulge area.
The in situ migratory fate of MITF/Mart-1-expressing cells in fetal skin involves a well-defined progression from intradermal to intraepidermal to intrafollicular localization. Occasional intradermal melanocytes may persist after the intraepithelial stages are completed, a finding of potential significance to melanocytic proliferations that may arise de novo within the dermis. Because MITF may play a role in stem cell maintenance, the presence of MITF in bulge epithelial cells suggests that it may be a novel marker for follicular stem cells of both epithelial and melanocytic lineage.
PMCID: PMC2935278  PMID: 18312434
15.  Asymmetric growth of root epidermal cells is related to the differentiation of root hair cells in Hordeum vulgare (L.) 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(16):5145-5155.
The root epidermis of most vascular plants harbours two cell types, namely trichoblasts (capable of producing a root hair) and atrichoblasts. Here, in vivo analysis, confocal laser-scanning microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, histological analysis, and three-dimensional reconstruction were used to characterize the cell types present in the barley root epidermis and their distribution in the tissue. Both trichoblasts and atrichoblasts were present in the wild-type cultivars and could be distinguished from one another at an early stage. Trichoblast/atrichoblast differentiation depended on asymmetric cell expansion after a period of symmetrical cell division. After asymmetric growth, only the shorter epidermal cells could produce root hairs, whereas the longer cells became atrichoblasts. Moreover, the root epidermis did not develop root hairs at all if the epidermal cells did not differentiate into two asymmetric cell types. The root hairless phenotype of bald root barley (brb) and root hairless 1.b (rhl1.b) mutants was caused by a mutation in a gene related to the asymmetric expansion of the root epidermal cells. Additionally, the results showed that the mechanism of trichoblast/atrichoblast differentiation is not evolutionally conserved across the subfamilies of the Poaceae; in the Pooideae subfamily, both asymmetric division and asymmetric cell expansion have been observed.
PMCID: PMC3830489  PMID: 24043851
Atrichoblast; cell pattern; differentiation; epidermis; Hordeum vulgare (barley); root hair; trichoblast.
16.  Dlx3 is a crucial regulator of hair follicle differentiation and regeneration 
Development (Cambridge, England)  2008;135(18):3149-3159.
Dlx homeobox transcription factors regulate epidermal, neural and osteogenic cellular differentiation. Here we demonstrate the central role of Dlx3 as a crucial transcriptional regulator of hair formation and regeneration. The selective ablation of Dlx3 in the epidermis results in complete alopecia due to failure of the hair shaft and inner root sheath to form, which is caused by the abnormal differentiation of the cortex. Significantly, we elucidate the regulatory cascade that positions Dlx3 downstream of Wnt signaling and as an upstream regulator of other transcription factors that regulate hf differentiation, such as Hoxc13 and Gata3. Co-localization of phospho-SMAD1/5/8 and Dlx3 is consistent with a regulatory role of BMP signaling of Dlx3 during hair morphogenesis. Importantly, mutant catagen follicles undergo delayed regression and display persistent proliferation. Moreover, ablation of Dlx3 expression in the telogen bulge stem cells is associated with a loss of BMP signaling, precluding re-initiation of the hf growth cycle. Taken together with hf abnormalities in humans with Tricho-Dento-Osseous (TDO) syndrome, an autosomal dominant ectodermal dysplasia linked to mutations in the DLX3 gene, our results establish that Dlx3 is essential for hair morphogenesis, differentiation and cycling programs.
PMCID: PMC2707782  PMID: 18684741
17.  Association of Azospirillum with Grass Roots † 
The association between grass roots and Azospirillum brasilense Sp 7 was investigated by the Fahraeus slide technique, using nitrogen-free medium. Young inoculated roots of pearl millet and guinea grass produced more mucilaginous sheath (mucigel), root hairs, and lateral roots than did uninoculated sterile controls. The bacteria were found within the mucigel that accumulated on the root cap and along the root axes. Adherent bacteria were associated with granular material on root hairs and fibrillar material on undifferentiated epidermal cells. Significantly fewer numbers of azospirilla attached to millet root hairs when the roots were grown in culture medium supplemented with 5 mM potassium nitrate. Under these growth conditions, bacterial attachment to undifferentiated epidermal cells was unaffected. Aseptically collected root exudate from pearl millet contained substances which bound to azospirilla and promoted their adsorption to the root hairs. This activity was associated with nondialyzable and proteasesensitive substances in root exudate. Millet root hairs adsorbed azospirilla in significantly higher numbers than cells of Rhizobium, Pseudomonas, Azotobacter, Klebsiella, or Escherichia. Pectolytic activities, including pectin transeliminase and endopolygalacturonase, were detected in pure cultures of A. brasilense when this species was grown in a medium containing pectin. These studies describe colonization of grass root surfaces by A. brasilense and provide a possible explanation for the limited colonization of intercellular spaces of the outer root cortex.
PMCID: PMC291307  PMID: 16345490
18.  Increased expression of keratin 16 causes anomalies in cytoarchitecture and keratinization in transgenic mouse skin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1994;127(2):505-520.
Injury to epidermis and other stratified epithelia triggers profound but transient changes in the pattern of keratin expression. In postmitotic cells located at the wound edge, a strong induction of K6, K16, and K17 synthesis occurs at the expense of the keratins produced under the normal situation. The functional significance of these alterations in keratin expression is not known. Here, we report that overexpression of a wild-type human K16 gene in a tissue-specific fashion in transgenic mice causes aberrant keratinization of the hair follicle outer root sheath and proximal epidermis, and it leads to hyperproliferation and increased thickness of the living layers (acanthosis), as well as cornified layers (hyperkeratosis). The pathogenesis of lesions in transgenic mouse skin begins with a reorganization of keratin filaments in postmitotic keratinocytes, and it progresses in a transgene level-dependent fashion to include disruption of keratinocyte cytoarchitecture and structural alterations in desmosomes at the cell surface. No evidence of cell lysis could be found at the ultrastructural level. These results demonstrate that the disruption of the normal keratin profile caused by increased K16 expression interferes with the program of terminal differentiation in outer root sheath and epidermis. They further suggest that when present at sufficiently high intracellular levels, K16, along with K6 and K17, appear capable of inducing a reorganization of keratin filaments in the cytoplasm of skin epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC2120213  PMID: 7523421
19.  Loss of Mpzl3 Function Causes Various Skin Abnormalities and Greatly Reduced Adipose Depots 
The rough coat (rc) spontaneous mutation causes sebaceous gland hypertrophy, hair loss and extracutaneous abnormalities including growth retardation. The rc mice have a missense mutation in the predicted immunoglobulin protein Mpzl3. In this study, we generated Mpzl3 knockout mice to determine its functions in the skin. Homozygous Mpzl3 knockout mice showed unkempt and greasy hair coat and hair loss soon after birth. Histological analysis revealed severe sebaceous gland hypertrophy and increased dermal thickness, but did not detect significant changes in the hair cycle. Mpzl3 null mice frequently developed inflammatory skin lesions; however, the early onset skin abnormalities were not the results of immune defects. The abnormalities in the Mpzl3 knockout mice resemble closely those observed in the rc/rc mice, as well as mice heterozygous for both the rc and Mpzl3 knockout alleles, indicating that rc and Mpzl3 are allelic. Using a lacZ reporter gene, we detected Mpzl3 promoter activity in the companion layer and inner root sheath of the hair follicle, sebaceous gland, and epidermis. Loss of MPZL3 function also caused a striking reduction in cutaneous and overall adipose tissue. These data reveal a complex role for Mpzl3 in the control of skin development, hair growth and adipose cell functions.
PMCID: PMC4057944  PMID: 24531688
Mpzl3; sebaceous gland; hair follicle; alopecia; adipose
20.  Mapping of Sugar and Amino Acid Availability in Soil around Roots with Bacterial Sensors of Sucrose and Tryptophan 
We developed a technique to map the availability of sugars and amino acids along live roots in an intact soil-root matrix with native microbial soil flora and fauna present. It will allow us to study interactions between root exudates and soil microorganisms at the fine spatial scale necessary to evaluate mechanisms of nitrogen cycling in the rhizosphere. Erwinia herbicola 299R harboring a promoterless ice nucleation reporter gene, driven by either of two nutrient-responsive promoters, was used as a biosensor. Strain 299RTice exhibits tryptophan-dependent ice nucleation activity, while strain 299R(p61RYice) expresses ice nucleation activity proportional to sucrose concentration in its environment. Both biosensors exhibited up to 100-fold differences in ice nucleation activity in response to varying substrate abundance in culture. The biosensors were introduced into the rhizosphere of the annual grass Avena barbata and, as a control, into bulk soil. Neither strain exhibited significant ice nucleation activity in the bulk soil. Both tryptophan and sucrose were detected in the rhizosphere, but they showed different spatial patterns. Tryptophan was apparently most abundant in soil around roots 12 to 16 cm from the tip, while sucrose was most abundant in soil near the root tip. The largest numbers of bacteria (determined by acridine orange staining and direct microscopy) occurred near root sections with the highest apparent sucrose or tryptophan exudation. High sucrose availability at the root tip is consistent with leakage of photosynthate from immature, rapidly growing root tissues, while tryptophan loss from older root sections may result from lateral root perforation of the root epidermis.
PMCID: PMC91396  PMID: 10347061
21.  Localization of Myosin and Actin in the Pelage and Whisker Hair Follicles of Rat 
Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica  2006;39(4):113-123.
The combined effects of myosin II and actin enable muscle and nonmuscle cells to generate forces required for muscle contraction, cell division, cell migration, cellular morphological changes, the maintenance of cellular tension and polarity, and so on. However, except for the case of muscle contraction, the details are poorly understood. We focus on nonmuscle myosin and actin in the formation and maintenance of hair and skin, which include highly active processes in mammalian life with respect to the cellular proliferation, differentiation, and movement. The localization of nonmuscle myosin II and actin in neonatal rat dorsal skin, mystacial pad, hair follicles, and vibrissal follicles was studied by immunohistochemical technique to provide the basis for the elucidation of the roles of these proteins. Specificities of the antibodies were verified by using samples from the relevant tissues and subjecting them to immunoblotting test prior to morphological analyses. The myosin and actin were abundant and colocalized in the spinous and granular layers but scarce in the basal layer of the dorsal and mystacial epidermis. In hair and vibrissal follicles, nonmuscle myosin and actin were colocalized in the outer root sheath and some hair matrix cells adjoining dermal papillae. In contrast, most areas of the inner root sheath and hair matrix appeared to comprise very small amounts of myosin and actin. Hair shaft may comprise significant myosin during the course of its keratinization. These results suggest that the actin-myosin system plays a part in cell movement, differentiation, protection and other key functions of skin and hair cells.
PMCID: PMC1698863  PMID: 17327898
myosin; actin; hair; skin; rat
22.  Expression Pattern of Cyclooxygenase-2 in Normal Rat Epidermis and Pilosebaceous Unit during Hair Cycle 
Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica  2008;41(6):157-163.
As an important member of the cyclooxygenase isoenzymes, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mainly catalyzes the first two steps in prostanoid synthesis. In mammalian animals, although COX-2 was thought to be rarely expressed in most normal tissues and was usually upregulated in a variety of epithelial tumors and inflammatory reactions, recently it was reported that COX-2 could localize in the epidermis as well as the pilosebaceous unit of the normal human and mouse skin. Until now, the function of COX-2 in normal skin has remained unknown. To investigate the possible roles of COX-2 in normal skin by RT-PCR and immunochemistry, we studied the expression pattern of COX-2 in hair cycle of the normal rat skin. The expression of COX-2 mRNA was detected in normal rat skin sample and was related to the hair follicle cycle. When the hair cycle entered catagen and telogen, COX-2 mRNA transcription in skin increased significantly. Furthermore, the location of COX-2 immunoreactivity showed that COX-2 protein is mainly concentrated in the epidermis and pilosebaceous unit. In the stratified epidermis, the strong COX-2 protein expression was detected in the suprabasal layers of epidermis in anagen and declined in catagen and telogen. In hair follicle, COX-2 protein was obviously expressed in the outer root sheath of the anagen hair follicle, and was barely detectable in catagen as well as telogen. In the sebaceous gland, the COX-2 protein expression became more intense in catagen and telogen, with an increase in sebaceous gland size. Our results suggested that COX-2 was not specific to some abnormal tissues and was indeed involved in the normal physiology of rat skin, such as the differentiation of epidermis, the morphogenesis of the hair follicle, the transformation of hair cycle stages, and the lipid production of the sebaceous gland.
PMCID: PMC2629551  PMID: 19180200
cyclooxygenase-2; pilosebaceous unit; hair cycle; epidermis; sebaceous glands
23.  Integrin-linked kinase is required for epidermal and hair follicle morphogenesis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;177(3):501-513.
Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) links integrins to the actin cytoskeleton and is believed to phosphorylate several target proteins. We report that a keratinocyte-restricted deletion of the ILK gene leads to epidermal defects and hair loss. ILK-deficient epidermal keratinocytes exhibited a pronounced integrin-mediated adhesion defect leading to epidermal detachment and blister formation, disruption of the epidermal–dermal basement membrane, and the translocation of proliferating, integrin-expressing keratinocytes to suprabasal epidermal cell layers.
The mutant hair follicles were capable of producing hair shaft and inner root sheath cells and contained stem cells and generated proliferating progenitor cells, which were impaired in their downward migration and hence accumulated in the outer root sheath and failed to replenish the hair matrix. In vitro studies with primary ILK-deficient keratinocytes attributed the migration defect to a reduced migration velocity and an impaired stabilization of the leading-edge lamellipodia, which compromised directional and persistent migration. We conclude that ILK plays important roles for epidermis and hair follicle morphogenesis by modulating integrin-mediated adhesion, actin reorganization, and plasma membrane dynamics in keratinocytes.
PMCID: PMC2064816  PMID: 17485490
24.  Brassinosteroids control root epidermal cell fate via direct regulation of a MYB-bHLH-WD40 complex by GSK3-like kinases 
eLife  2014;3:e02525.
In Arabidopsis, root hair and non-hair cell fates are determined by a MYB-bHLH-WD40 transcriptional complex and are regulated by many internal and environmental cues. Brassinosteroids play important roles in regulating root hair specification by unknown mechanisms. Here, we systematically examined root hair phenotypes in brassinosteroid-related mutants, and found that brassinosteroid signaling inhibits root hair formation through GSK3-like kinases or upstream components. We found that with enhanced brassinosteroid signaling, GL2, a cell fate marker for non-hair cells, is ectopically expressed in hair cells, while its expression in non-hair cells is suppressed when brassinosteroid signaling is reduced. Genetic analysis demonstrated that brassinosteroid-regulated root epidermal cell patterning is dependent on the WER-GL3/EGL3-TTG1 transcriptional complex. One of the GSK3-like kinases, BIN2, interacted with and phosphorylated EGL3, and EGL3s mutated at phosphorylation sites were retained in hair cell nuclei. BIN2 phosphorylated TTG1 to inhibit the activity of the WER-GL3/EGL3-TTG1 complex. Thus, our study provides insights into the mechanism of brassinosteroid regulation of root hair patterning.
eLife digest
Roots anchor a plant into the ground, and allow the plant to absorb water and mineral nutrients from the soil. As roots grow and branch, they increase the surface area of root exposed to the soil—and many plant cells in the root's outer layer have a hair-like projection to further increase this surface area. Thus, root hairs are where most water and mineral nutrients are absorbed. Many factors affect whether, or not, a plant cell will develop into a root hair. These factors include both external cues (such as the mineral content of the soil) and signals from the plant itself (such as hormones).
Brassinosteroids are plant hormones that regulate the development of shoots and roots, as well as the timing of when flowers begin to develop. These hormones are detected on the outside of plant cells, and activate a signaling pathway within the cell that causes changes in gene expression. Brassinosteroids also control if a root cell will become a hair cell or not, although the mechanism behind this activity is unclear.
Here, Cheng et al. have looked at the root hairs of mutant Arabidopsis thaliana plants that have had individual genes involved in brassinosteroid signaling knocked-out. Plant biologists commonly study this plant species because it is small and grows quickly—and Arabidopsis has regular stripes of root hair cells and ‘non-hair cells’ in the outer layer of its roots. Cheng et al. reveal that brassinosteroids prevent the formation of root hairs via signaling pathways that involve proteins called GSK3-like kinases. These hormones ‘switch off’ these kinases’ activity, so knocking-out the genes that code for these kinases has the same effect as adding extra brassinosteroids to the plant roots: fewer root hair cells.
Cheng et al. show that one of the GSK3-like kinases binds and adds phosphate groups to protein complexes that control gene expression—and this causes these protein complexes to be less active. When GSK3-like kinase activity is switched off by brassinosteroids, these complexes instead become more active and trigger the expression of genes that direct a plant cell to become a non-hair cell.
The findings of Cheng et al. reveal the pathways that allow brassinosteroids to stop plant cells in roots from becoming hair cells, and that instead encourage these cells to become non-hair cells. However, further work is needed to uncover how the striped pattern of hair cells and non-hair cells on Arabidopsis roots is established, and how brassinosteroids work with other plant hormones to control this pattern.
PMCID: PMC4005458  PMID: 24771765
brassinosteroids; GSK3-like kinases; root epidermal cell fate; EGL3; phosphorylation; TTG1; Arabidopsis
25.  A conceptual model of root hair ideotypes for future agricultural environments: what combination of traits should be targeted to cope with limited P availability? 
Annals of Botany  2012;112(2):317-330.
Phosphorus (P) often limits crop production and is frequently applied as fertilizer; however, supplies of quality rock phosphate for fertilizer production are diminishing. Plants have evolved many mechanisms to increase their P acquisition, and an understanding of these traits could result in improved long-term sustainability of agriculture. This Viewpoint focuses on the potential benefits of root hairs to sustainable production.
First the various root-related traits that could be deployed to improve agricultural sustainability are catalogued, and their potential costs and benefits to the plant are discussed. A novel mathematical model describing the effects of length, density and longevity of root hairs on P acquisition is developed, and the relative benefits of these three root-hair traits to plant P nutrition are calculated. Insights from this model are combined with experimental data to assess the relative benefits of a range of root hair ideotypes for sustainability of agriculture.
A cost–benefit analysis of root traits suggests that root hairs have the greatest potential for P acquisition relative to their cost of production. The novel modelling of root hair development indicates that the greatest gains in P-uptake efficiency are likely to be made through increased length and longevity of root hairs rather than by increasing their density. Synthesizing this information with that from published experiments we formulate six potential ideotypes to improve crop P acquisition. These combine appropriate root hair phenotypes with architectural, anatomical and biochemical traits, such that more root-hair zones are produced in surface soils, where P resources are found, on roots which are metabolically cheap to construct and maintain, and that release more P-mobilizing exudates. These ideotypes could be used to inform breeding programmes to enhance agricultural sustainability.
PMCID: PMC3698376  PMID: 23172412
Arabidopsis; barley; Hordeum vulgare; cost/benefit; modelling; phosphorus; root architecture; root anatomy; root function; root hairs

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